Greetings to you all,
I hope that you are all well. For those who are not, I send you positive emotions from the Pearl of Africa (Uganda) where the sun is warm as I start this blog. It is always with great pleasure that I write to you these blogs and keep you up to date with what we are doing.
The Covid 19 situation continues to pound on so many nations around the world and the numbers keep rising everyday. In Uganda the dark cloud of the pandemic continues to loom over us as many more people continue to die. Early last week, I went to see a dentist and he was telling me a story of how one of his teachers who died of the Coronavirus. His teacher caught it before her husband and was taken to the Intensive Care Unit where she was treated until recovery. When she recovered, she realized that her husband too was infected and was also in intensive care. She decided that she wouldn’t go home without her husband and decided to be the caretaker. Unfortunately, she caught it the second time but never made it this time. My dentist said that they lost a very fundamental teacher at the Dental school.
For my dental experience, I had one tooth removed and my crown redone because it had a leak which was causing me to have a foul breath. In this event I had a total of two visits with the dentist and I am glad I got that sorted out. It had also infected my gums and they were getting inflamed. I now feel much better, my gums have returned to their original shape and color.
My second event of the week could be the better one or the most interesting one because it was totally unintentional on my behalf. I woke up on Thursday morning 30/09/2021 to go to work and suddenly I met my best friend and she was going to get the Covid vaccine. We spoke for about 2 minutes and she asked me where I was going and I told her to see some Mamas. She told me that she was going to get the vaccine and asked me whether I wanted to join her so we could get the jab together. Lucky enough I had my National Identity card, so it was going to be easy. It took us about 25mins walk from the City Center where we met to the City Hall where the vaccines were being given by the Ministry of Health officials.
When we reached the City Hall gate of course there was a lot of security and we were shown the hand washing facilities which we used before we entered. There were several tents erected in the open grounds, demarcated very well showing the different activities that were taking place on the day. They ranged from registration, waiting area, first dose tent, second dose tent and the other which I think was written on sensitization. They carried out sensitization in two major languages which included Luganda and English.
We continued to the registration area where we were given a consent form to fill and a registration card. We sat down and filled in all the required areas we had to fill and were given numbers written on blue pieces of paper. These pieces of paper were supposed to be handed in at the table in the First dose tent. Of course there were quite a number of people, over 300 people I should say. The one thing I really appreciated during the time there was that Ugandans are starting to accept and embrace the vaccine. There have been lots of rumors against the vaccine, a large number of people did not or still do not trust the vaccine at all. Some of the christians here have gone to the extreme to think that this vaccine is the “mark of the beast”. Some Ugandans believe that the vaccine affects or even reduces our ability to have children. Generally the stories are many and you won’t believe some of the stories you would hear among people both educated and uneducated.
I personally decided to take the vaccine because I honestly wanted to take it and because I was the number one preacher of the gospel of taking the vaccine. I felt that it was my obligation to do so. For months I had been trying to sensitize and also maybe try to show the Mamas that getting the vaccine was the best idea. I am glad I got it and now I can show them evidence and maybe they can do the same.
It was not a walk in the park as you might think, there is something that happens to human beings when lines and numbers are issued to us. Regardless of the fact that all of us had numbers, some of the people felt as though they needed to go before the other. There is a tendency of people feeling more important than others, my friend had to literally run to get into seats to secure a vaccine. This came about when we realised no one was following the numbers on blue cards that were given to us in the first tent. We saw one of the ladies pretend to walk past the tent and when she saw an empty chair she walked right in and took the seat. It was at this point that my friend and I knew it was going to be a long day if we didn’t do something about the situation. We saw the lady admitting people into the tent walk towards us and I stood up, walked into the tent, sat on one seat and ushered my friend to the spare seat next to me. The lady looked at me and smiled, she said… “Oh that’s your wife?” and I said yes!
Our turn came and we took the jabs, our cards had serial numbers so they asked us and even showed the rest of the people in the tent where to fill in the serial numbers on the form. I was the first in line to take the jab before my friend and I tried to be brave. The nurse or the medic who was going to give me the injection picked out a vial from the cooler, shook it several times, picked a single-use needle, pulled out a liquid and mixed it in the vial of the vaccine. Then she pulled the mixture into the injection, cleaned my arm with cotton and spirit, and injected me gently so that I did not even feel a pinch. She took my card and asked me to wait in the tent for the card because they had to stamp it to show the date I would take the second dose.
I walked out of the tent and waited for my friend as she got her dose so we would go into the waiting tent together. After about 3 minutes she came out and we walked to the waiting tent. Of course my card came first and hers came a few minutes later. It was such a relief to walk into that facility and within a matter of hours walk out with the vaccine and our vaccine cards. This was a good thing because many times people walk into such facilities and not even get the vaccine because people are uncontrollable here. I must say it was a wonderful experience and feeling.
It is advised that you take rest after the vaccine has been taken, so I said bye to my friend and took a taxi home. I reached home and took two glasses of water before I poured another of juice. It is always important to keep hydrated all the time. I did not get immediate side effects of the vaccine until the next day. I got the Pfizer vaccine.
I started feeling some pain in my arm which was expected because of the injection, then a slight headache and little chills all over my body. This went on for 3 days, Friday, Saturday and even Sunday. I tried to stay at home and indoors to be specific throughout this whole time. At the moment I actually feel better than the last few days. I am relieved that I have done one of the things I have wanted to do since the vaccine was rolled out. My second dose is scheduled for the 27th October 2021, I don’t know why I was given 3 weeks.
Above all things this past week, I was really happy to have taken my first Pfizer shot which officially makes me part of the 1% of the Ugandans to have received the vaccine. I was also happy to hear that my mum too got her shot of the vaccine which brings the total of vaccinated people in our family 3 out of 5.
I want to take the opportunity to thank the donor world for donating vaccines to all third and developing countries. You have surely made a difference in countries such as these.
Director of Programs, Uganda.
ISEE Solutions Society