COVID-19: Speaker Oulanyah rallies Northern Uganda to get vaccinated

Jacob Oulanyah, the Speaker of Parliament of Uganda has rallied members of the community, especially from Northern Uganda to turn up in large numbers to get vaccinated if the economy in the region is to be fully opened.

For close to two years now, Uganda’s economy has been partially operating with most sectors closed to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

According to Oulanyah, the Acholi community has been deceived that the jabs are ill-intended and will have a negative impact on their lives, which he says is untrue.

“I have listened to some unfortunate and misleading messages from the region. So, my people please respond to this call to be vaccinated. They are giving you a shield to protect yourself. Because otherwise, it has become a necessity even along borders, you don’t have it, you miss services”. Oulanyah says.

“Opening up schools, businesses, and the whole economy will majorly depend on the level of vaccination. The accusations which are not scientifically proven are baseless. Please be encouraged and go and take these vaccinations. These vaccines expire, so let’s get vaccinated because if we don’t, we are done” Oulanyah adds.

Oulanyah attributes the massive negative propaganda campaign against the vaccines because other powerful people and countries are willing to fund such information to frustrate the efforts of countries who are trying to locally produce vaccines and drugs.

“We know that some countries who are producing vaccines would even go as far as funding negative propaganda information on the vaccines because they want to make more money. For that matter, I want to rally my people to support local vaccines which are already in the final testing stages. Let’s encourage our scientists to help because we are counting on them to help us with this epidemic” Oulanyah said.

In a bid to boost vaccination, the Gulu City COVID-19 Taskforce has restricted entry to the Gulu main market and bus terminal to only those who are willing to get vaccinated or have partially or fully received their vaccinations.

This comes when the City is struggling to realize the target for vaccination despite the Ministry of Health launching mass vaccinations. Currently, the city has only vaccinated just 30 percent of the population with most of the increase in percentage realized during the ongoing mass COVID-19 vaccinations.

Denis Odongpiny, the Gulu Resident City Commissioner [RCC] confirmed to our reporter saying, they have in a follow-up meeting with the leadership of the main market and the bus terminal resolved that anyone accessing these premises must produce a COVID-19 vaccination card showing that they vaccinated.

“I engaged the people in the market. That is where we resolved that if one is not vaccinated and not willing to get vaccinated, we are not going to allow you to access the market because we have a team ready to vaccinate those who have not been vaccinated. Even at Gulu hospital, the day the Minister launched the mass vaccination, it was resolved that for any medical worker to access the regional hospital, they must get vaccinated.

Odongpiny blamed the low uptake of the vaccines on social media fake news with others claiming the vaccines brought to the Acholi sub-region have been contaminated, which is totally not true.

Susan Acan, a trader at the Gulu main market worries that despite the good intention for the resolution, they are likely to lose business especially with the Christmas season around the corner.

“Much as the resolution of the authorities is intended towards vaccinating all of us, but we also know that there are people who are not willing to get vaccinated and as a result, this is going to affect our sales especially those who come from the villages for Christmas shopping,” Acan observed.

Most of the districts in the Acholi sub-region have been recording low uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines majorly due to social media reports. In Amuru district, the district task force was forced to make it mandatory for health workers and the district staff to get vaccinated or face missing out on salaries.

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