To take or not to take the jab

Sunday May 02 2021
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Author: Juliet Justine Rukundo. PHOTO/FILE

By Juliet Justine Rukundo

As the year progresses,  Covid-19 is still here with us and keeping our scientists on their toes.  India is battling a record-breaking rise in Covid-19 infections that has overwhelmed hospitals and led to severe bed and oxygen shortages.

A key question is whether a new variant with potentially worrying mutations -- B.1.617 -- is behind what is currently the world’s fastest-growing outbreak, which added more than 300,000 fresh infections Thursday.

The B.1.617 variant has already appeared elsewhere, including in the US, Australia, and one case has been discovered here, in Uganda. Concern about it has led some countries, including such as UK, to slap travel restrictions  as Uganda debates its stance on India.  We await the Ministry of Health officials and other stakeholders to give the verdict.

The Covid -19 vaccine is here and they have asked the frontline workers to take it. Have you taken yours? While we are happy to have some dozes to start with, there has been an ongoing debate among the Muslim brotherhood.

Some believe that taking the vaccine weakens their bodies and they cannot carry on with the mandatory fasting in this Holy month of Ramadan while scholars and health experts believe this has nothing nutritional about it.

Thus, the emergency is real and we ought to take the vaccine. In our cover story, we hear from both sides, the faith and science scholars give views which could guide those not in the know. 

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Enjoy more interesting stories, such as the life and times of Sammy Kasule, the bass legend who passed away on Tuesday. What was his music career like? Then, a retired head teacher Kihumuro Kajura in Kabale who invested in educating his children. Today, they pay him a reasonable up keep and his former pupils seem to always hand him tokens of appreciation. What a fulfilment!

Do not hesitate to go for your Covid-19 vaccine and save a life. Good health begins with you in this new month!

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Trending: Uganda confirms Indian strain

Government confirmed that Uganda has registered the Indian Covid-19 variant B.1.617.
Col Dr Henry Kyobe, the Covid-19 incident commander,  on Thursday  said the country has now registered five Covid-19 variants,  namely Ugandan, Nigerian, South Africa, and UK strains.

Dr Kyobe said the UK, South Africa, and India variants are more transmissible and mainly affect a younger age group in cases where they have been recorded.  However, he added that the variant causing more havoc in India is the UK variant.

“Variants of concern are those that change the epidemiology, transmission and effect on individuals. In that case, they might be more virulent and change from one age to the other. They might change in symptoms and in the worst case scenario therapeutics and vaccines may not be able to respond to them, but we have not yet seen that,” Dr Kyobe said.

Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health, said there is need to scale up surveillance, contact tracing and testing at the district level so as to detect cases early.   She urged the public to follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to avoid the scenario happening in countries like India.

“There are five variants in the country.  You may also have your own home grown variants in a few months’ time. We shall be telling the status of those variants,”  Dr Aceng said.

According to Ministry of Health, some countries have accused Uganda of being a transit route for travellers, which exposes them to more variants.

Asked what the government is doing to prevent more variants in the country, Dr Aceng said the national taskforce would take a decision on what needs to be done regarding some of the countries like India.  

A source at the Ministry of Health said in one of the meetings, it was agreed that a travel ban be imposed on countries with new variants, especially India. However, the source added that more discussions on the issue are ongoing.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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