Entebbe, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital has run short of COVID-19 vaccine doses. Already 3,720 people have received their first dose at the hospital.
The vaccination exercise runs from 8am to 5pm every weekday. However, on Friday, the centre closed at 2pm because there were less than five doses remaining and yet over ten people were waiting to be vaccinated.
Health workers diplomatically told people in the waiting area and others who kept flocking the centre even after 5:30pm that they had worked half-day.
Irene Kobusingye (not real name) says the medics told her to return next week on Monday. Other people who did receive the jab however say they are not sure if they will return on Monday because of tight work schedules. Kobusingye, aged 60 years, was in the queue with 12 other people.
“I came on Friday because I work half-day,” said a one Joseph Mulondo. “I was also told the centre closes after 5pm every Friday because people are usually many,” added Mulondo, a teacher in one of the private schools.
65-year-old Imran Sseguya, a farmer and resident of Kigungu, says he was disappointed that the centre closed before 2pm. He had been in the queue at 1:50pm. “But a nurse came and told six of us who had sat in the shed that they have decided to close the centre.”
Sseguya says he was shocked that the centre closed earlier than expected because just like Mulondo, his peers had told him that the centre closes sometimes at 6:30pm on Fridays due to the big numbers.
According to records, the centre has been vaccinating the highest number of people on Monday and Friday. The numbers range between 150 to 200 on both days.
For instance, on April 26th, 187 people were vaccinated while 167 people were vaccinated on Friday, April 30th. However, Friday, April 16, the hospital vaccinated 242 people, the highest number in a single day.
Dr. John Kalyesubula, the medical officer at Entebbe Municipal Council, says that the health workers should have informed his office about the likelihood of a stockout. “The officers are supposed to restock when they have less than 100 doses. So this was an oversight on their part and we apologise to the people who missed out. Let them return next week,” said Dr. Kalyesubula.
Some of the health workers at the centre however say they requested for additional 1,000 doses but were given only 500 on Tuesday. The hospital gets doses from Wakiso district headquarters.
The team also expects to collect at least 3,720 doses for those who will return for their second jab, starting Wednesday May 5th.
The vaccination exercise commenced on March 10 and 3,720 people have so far been vaccinated. The hospital received 3,724 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which means that they have used 99.8 per cent of the doses delivered. Those vaccinated include the elderly, health workers, teachers, security officers, staff from UN, airlines and government bodies such as Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre- UWEC and National Medical Stores – NMS.
The hospital has registered a higher turn up compared to the national turn up rate of 34.2 percent. According to the Health Ministry by April 30, 330,077 people nationwide had been vaccinated across the country. Uganda received 964,000 doses. Unlike at some of the vaccination centers across the country where people hardly turn up for vaccination, at Entebbe hospital, at least ten people queue up every hour to receive the jab.
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