Kampala, Uganda | URN | The majority of Ugandans who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have not received booster doses as recommended by health professionals.
Records from the Ministry of Health show that more than 10.2 million people representing 48 per cent of the targeted 22 million people were fully vaccinated as of April this year.
However, of these, only 59,542 have received booster doses that are supposed to increase the efficacy of the vaccines, which is believed to wane with time. This means over 10.1 million Ugandans who are fully vaccinated have not received their booster doses.
A number of health professionals interviewed by our reporters attributed the low number of Ugandans seeking booster doses to the current trends of the disease. Dr Daniel Kyabayinze, the incident commander of COVID-19 Vaccination, says that only a few Ugandans are getting the booster dose because of the number of new infections.
He however urged all persons to go and get the jabs before the focus shifts to other age groups. “At the moment we are reporting low numbers and people think that there’s no longer COVID-19, so the demand for vaccination has reduced, but this is not true. This pandemic has had waves and another might be around the corner. So it is important for everyone to get vaccinated to protect themselves,” Dr Kyabayinze said.
However, some vaccinated persons we spoke to intimated that they were tired of getting vaccinated while others said they didn’t know where to get the booster doses.
“The entire COVID-19 vaccination exercise was a mass trial. Why would I expose my body to chemicals it doesn’t need,” a doctor working at Mulago National Referral Hospital told this publication on condition of anonymity.
Similarly, 36-year-old John Ntende, a resident of Kireka, said that he will not get booster doses because he realized that COVID-19 vaccines are an experiment. Ntende says that he does not want to expose his body to more unnecessary chemicals.
Elizabeth Monday, 65, says that she does not know where to get a booster jab. According to Monday, while a lot of information was shared on TV and radios about the first doses, almost no information has been issued on booster doses.
According to Dr. Kyabayinze, the country has more than enough vaccines and people should just walk into any Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) health centers to get their booster dose.
Uganda is using a mix and match approach for booster doses depending on the vaccines one received for the first dose. Persons who were vaccinated with AstraZeneca, get Pfizer or Modern while those who got Pfizer or Moderna in their first dose get AstraZeneca.
Those vaccinated with Sinopharm or Sinovac are supposed to get AstraZeneca or Pfizer or Moderna while those who got Johnson & Johnson are supposed to get Pfizer or Moderna doses.