Several districts across the country have run out of stock of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
The vaccine shortages follow a recent increase in uptake of the covid-19 vaccine among the populace amidst the rising cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Some of the districts that have since reported stock out of covid-19 vaccine include the Northern Ugandan districts of Kitgum and Lira, Tororo, Masaka, Hoima, and Mbale among others.
At Kitgum General Hospital, in Kitgum Municipality, several people who had turned up for the first vaccination on Wednesday and Thursday were left stranded following stock out of the vaccines.
Kitgum Resident District Commissioner William Komakech says the vaccines got finished on Wednesday following a record high turn-up of locals for the vaccination. Vaccination in the district was being conducted in 36 health facilities.
Komakech says the district has utilized all the 3,120 doses of AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccines sent by the Health Ministry in March this year.
Komakech says the district Covid-19 task force has already made a request to the Health Ministry for more vials of the AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine to meet the growing demand. He says only 3,120 people vaccinated is not sufficient in protecting the population of more than 200,000 people from covid-19 infections.
In Mbale District, over 8,500 vials of covid-19 vaccine the district health department received from the Health Ministry have also been fully utilized.
Health officials are worried that the stock out of the vaccines could jeopardize the fight against the virus which is already on the rise in the area.
Edward Nyongesa, the Mbale District Surveillance Officer, says the district recently recorded 167 positive covid-19 cases. He notes that currently 16 of the patients are receiving treatment from Mbale Regional Treatment Center out of which 10 are in the Intensive Care Unit-ICU.
Dr Jonathan Wangisi, the Mbale district Health Officer says districts that are experiencing low uptake of the covid-19 vaccine should consider giving the vaccines to them since they have fully utilized their stock.
In Hoima district, the situation is not any different. According to Dr Lawrence Tumusiime, the District Health Officer, a total of 5,230 doses of covid-19 vaccines have all been administered following high demand from the public.
Dr Tumusiime says that health officials had been vaccinating 400 to 500 people daily recently before the vaccines got finished, signalling high demand amidst a surge in covid-19 cases.
In Masaka district, all the five designated vaccination centres have also run out of covid-19 vaccines. The district received 4,600 doses of AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccines in March.
One of the health workers at Buwunga Health Centre IV who preferred anonymity says that their stock got finished mid-last month.
“We have since been referring them to the regional referral hospital,” she said.
At Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, 50 people were turned away on Wednesday after they failed to get the required vaccines.
Margret Nabaweesi, one of the people who were found stranded at the facility indicated they were driven by the reported upsurge in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country.
“Government is mobilizing us to turn up for vaccinations, but to our disappointment, we are failing to find the vaccines,” she noted.
Emmanuel Kaggwa, the Masaka District Covid-19 Surveillance Taskforce Focal Person says they notified the Ministry of Health about the stock-out but they are yet to receive a response.
In Kabale District, According to Paddy Mwesigye, Kabale District Assistant Health Officer says that the 5,620 doses of Vaccine that were received in March are finished.
Mwesigye says that residents from all sub-counties of Ndorwa East constituency that include,
Kyanamira, Maziba, Kaharo and Buhara sub-counties were reluctant to turn up for jabs which forced the health officials to recall the doses to Kabale municipality.
Mwesigye says that they have resorted to using local media to sensitize residents on the Standard Operating Procedures-SOPs.
In Lira District, 7,830 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that the district received in March have run out.
However Dr Edmond Acheka, the District Health Officer says that after a request for more stock, the Ministry of Health delivered 2,000 doses of vaccine on Tuesday. According to Dr Acheka, 700 doses have been delivered to Lira Regional Referral Hospital, 400 doses to PAG HCIV, 400 doses to Lira University teaching hospital, 200 to Amach HCIV, and 300 to Ogur HCIV.
The Health Ministry received a total of 964,000 doses of the covid-19 vaccine through the COVAX facility from India in March this year.
Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Senior Public Relations Officer Ministry of Health however told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Thursday that most of the vaccine doses have now been used.
He says the government expects to receive the next batch of AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of next week from the Covax facility in India. Ainebyoona called for patience from the public.
“The vaccine we got is almost done, people need to be patient as we wait for another batch tentatively before the end of next week,” He said.
The government targets to vaccinate 49.6 percent of the population, approximately 21.9 million people.