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Errant Teachers, Social Media Reports Blamed for Low Vaccine Uptake in Tororo, Butaleja

The Tororo District Assistant Chief Administrative Officer, Jackson Osudo, says teachers who have refused to get vaccinated risk being scrapped off the government payroll and their services discontinued. Dr. Obbo has now warned that if the general public does not turn up for vaccinations by the end of this month, the AstraZeneca vaccine will expire and go to waste.
empty vaccination center in Tororo district. Photo by Mathew Okello

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The poor COVID-19 vaccine uptake in Bukedi and Bugisu sub-region is being blamed on errant teachers who have adamantly refused to take the jab and negativity on social media.

Recently, Emmanuel Ainebyona, the Senior Public Relations of Officer in the Ministry of Health named Butaleja, Tororo and Namisindwa districts as the worst performing when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination. Tororo district, which received 3,248 doses of AstraZeneca and 4,239 doses of Sinovac meant for the vaccination of teachers is yet to fully utilize the vaccines. 

Tororo District Health Officer, Dr. Obbo Okoth, says that there has been reluctance among teachers, which has affected the district in rankings as far as the COVID-19 vaccine uptake is concerned. Dr. Obbo says unless used by the end of this month, the AstraZeneca vaccine will expire and go to waste.    

 

//Cue in: “The vaccination situation… 

 

Cue out:…end of this month,”//    

 

The Tororo District Assistant Chief Administrative Officer, Jackson Osudo, says teachers who have refused to get vaccinated risk being scrapped off the government payroll and their services discontinued.

//Cue in: “You dont vaccinate…   

Cue out:…its not just Tororo district,”//    

Tororo Resident District Commissioner, Nixon Owole who also doubles as the chairperson of the COVID-19 task force, says that since the teachers have refused to turn up for the vaccination, they have decided to open up vaccination to the general public as a way of utilizing the vaccines.  He also warned that teachers who will not take the jab will face the consequences.    

In Namisindwa, the District Health Officer, Dr. Stephen Masai, says that they are yet to use over 1000 out of the 3620 doses they received for the second vaccination exercise. According to Dr. Masai, teachers have refused to be vaccinated for their own reasons, adding that the social media reports have portrayed the vaccines as dangerous, which has also affected the uptake.       

 

He says that they decided to open the vaccination for anyone who is above 18 years of age and is willing to take the jab.  

 

//Cue in: “There are no major…   

Cue out: …address the myths”//      

Jackson Wakweika, the Namisindwa District LC V Chairperson blames the low uptake on the restrictions that came along with the doses, which limited the vaccination to teachers. He says that it is possible that all the teachers in the district have been vaccinated and they have now decided to give the jabs to anyone willing.    

 

//Cue in: “Most of the…   

Cue out: …going on well”//      

Butaleja district officials have remained tight-lipped on how many doses they received despite being named among the worst-performing districts. Michael Higenyi, the LCV Chairperson says that they are going to mount roadblocks across the district to ensure that only vaccinated people move from one place to another.

He blames the poor uptake of the vaccines on traditional myths within the district.     

//Cue in: “The myths that…   

Cue out:…looking at basically,”//          

Stephen Akoyo, the Butaleja district health educator blamed the people's defiance on social media.        

//Cue in: “Social media rumours…   

Cue out:…in Butaleja”//   

Patrick Mwima, a resident of Busaba sub-county, says that the former RDC Stanley Bayole was too harsh while sensitizing people about the importance of vaccination.

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