Lira, Uganda | URN | COVID-19 vaccination cards are being sold to unvaccinated people at a cost of Shs 100,000 in Lira, in the Northern Region of Uganda according to Ivan Kareiga, the Officer in Charge of operations at Lira Central Police Station.
While addressing the COVID-19 task force meeting on Thursday 14, October 2021, Kareiga informed the team that the circulation of fake vaccination cards has been recorded at Lira Regional Referral Hospital. He however did not disclose the number of people involved in the unscrupulous deal for fear of jeopardizing investigations.
The matter comes up at a time when the Ministry of Health is emphasizing vaccination against COVID-19, as one of the measures to tame the disease that has paralysed the country since last year, killing millions of people across the globe. Vaccination, according to medical experts is one sure way of containing and controlling the virus.
Currently upon vaccination, one receives a card from the Health Ministry bearing their particulars such as name, occupation, name of the vaccine used and when the second dose should be administered. The card is temporarily used as proof of vaccination as one waits for the vaccination certificate which is issued 14-days after the person receives their final jab.
However, in Lira, it has been discovered that some people are selling the cards to both vaccinated and non-vaccinated people at between Shs 10,000 and Shs 100,000 respectively. The issue is reportedly more common among teachers and anti-vaxxers across the district, according to Kareiga.
Samuel Brown Ogwok, the Lira City Inspector of Schools confirmed having received reports that some teachers are purchasing vaccination cards to avoid getting the jab. But he hastens to add that when school opens, only those with certificates, and not the cards, will be considered as fully vaccinated.
Similarly, Hillary Okello, the Principle Medical Officer in Lira City explains that with technological advancement, the possibility of people printing their own vaccination cards without having been vaccinated is so high. He, however, assured the task force that at the end of it all, one will have to produce a certificate to prove that he or she is really vaccinated.
He tasked the security teams to investigate the matter and ensure that the medical personnel involved are brought to book.
Uganda has so far received 5.6 million doses of various COVID-19 vaccines including AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sinovac, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson. But so far, only 600,000 people have been inoculated with the two recommended jabs and up to 2.3 million people have received only the first jab.