Public health experts have decried the low uptake of Hepatitis B vaccines in Sheema district which will expire in December this year if not used.
Dr. Anthony Tumuhimbise, the In-charge of Vaccination in Sheema district, says that they have only used 3000 of the 6500 Hepatitis B vaccine doses the district received in 2019 from the national drug regulator, National Medical Stores-NMS.
According to Dr. Tumuhimbise, the Hepatitis B vaccines will expire in December this year. He attributes the poor uptake of the Hepatitis B vaccine on the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that there is a slow response ever since the pandemic broke out in the country.
Dr. Dickens Atwongyeire, the Sheema District Health Officer, says that they have noted a reduction in the number of people turning up for vaccination since the pandemic started.
Dr. James Wandera from the Sheema District health department says that they requested the vaccine in 2019 when Hepatitis B cases increased in the district.
“We had registered an increase in the number of Hepatitis B patients when we requested for the vaccine and people were receiving it well until COVID-19 outbreak”.
Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus that is preventable by vaccination. The disease is spread by exposure to infected bodily fluids.
A person suffering from Hepatitis B presents with yellowing of the eyes, abdominal pain and dark urine among others. However, Dr. Wandera says some people, particularly children, don’t experience any symptoms.