There is poor uptake of the COVID-19 booster vaccines at vaccination centres in Mbarara City three weeks after the government rolled out the mass vaccination campaign across the country.
Harrison Kagure, the head of communication at the COVID-19 Treatment Center in Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, says only 288 people have turned up for the booster COVID-19 dose in the last three weeks.
According to Kagure, they received 5200 doses and were expecting to get many people. He blames the low uptake on the laxity of the COVID-19 task force, which he says hasn’t done enough to mobilise residents for the booster dose vaccination.
He wants the Mbarara City and Resident District Commissioners to revitalize the responsibilities of the COVID-19 task forces to ensure the vaccines don’t expire before usage.
Due to the fewer positive cases, Dr. Celestine Barigye, the Director of Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, says that the leaders have resorted to only talking about other issues and ignoring COVID-19. He says as the COVID-19 vaccine decreases in one’s body, the immunity also decreases, which requires a booster dose.
Dr. Mugisha Keirukye Longino, the Mbarara City Principal Health Officer, says that they have noticed the low turn-up at all health centres involved in the vaccination campaign. He, however, says that they are still challenged as to why people are not turning up for the COVID-10 booster dose.
According to Keirukye, they have only used 692 out of the 20,110 doses they received for the third phase of the vaccination. He says they had a micro plan with set targets but have performed poorly due to poor mobilisation strategies and are holding meetings to find a solution to the low turn-up.
The Deputy Mbarara Resident City Commissioner concurs with the complaints about the laxity of the task forces because of the new parish development model.
Martha Kyomuhendo, a resident of Ruharo who we found at Kakoba Health Center IV taking her booster vaccine, said that people have fear of the booster doses because they lack knowledge.
She wants all the stakeholders to come out and sensitise the masses on the benefits of booster doses. At Mbarara regional referral hospital, COVID-19 treatment centre has registered 8 admissions, two deaths, and 59 patients are under home-based care.