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Involve youth in Covid-19 vaccination drive

My father inspired me to go for coronavirus vaccination.  At first, I was scared because some people kept saying the vaccine could kill you. And also listening to complaints people had about it. A lady in a WhatsApp group, for example, shared her experience in the hospital when her mother was vaccinated and she said her mother’s condition worsened and this led to her death.

But many former schoolmates in the group kept on encouraging us, giving examples of themselves after receiving their first shots. Also, medical personnel kept clarifying and giving explanations as to why the vaccine didn’t work for some people. At that point, I still needed to talk to my friends about it.

So, when I shared the idea with them, they were so negative about it, but finally I took courage, with my elder sister and another friend and went straight to Lira referral hospital. we arrived at 7:30am hoping to be served as early, but to my dismay the people concerned started organizing at around 10:00am.

Ann Parlaker Gumkit (right in one white blouse) with Sharon Acio Enon at a CPAR Uganda Stakeholders meeting at our Lira Learning Centre.

As we sat there very many people kept coming until there were no chairs for everyone. Most people stood under the tree. Finally, they started the vaccination exercise at 11:00 a.m., giving priority to teachers and elders and that meant I had to wait some more.

We collected our forms together with that of the police men. They would call names and after you line up. Meanwhile, in the line, they kept asking your age and occupation. When my turn reached, they told me am under age and still a student, but I insisted and finally the nurse allowed.

They would count ten people and take them in a tent to receive their injections. Men in long sleeved shirts had to remove their shirts to be able to receive the injection, which was being given on the shoulder.

After I had received my injection, I was waiting for the side effects to happen but I did not experience any. So, the next weekend I went off to my friends at Lira University to tell them the good news. Most of us did not even know that our university hospital was also administering coronavirus vaccination. When we learned this, my friends took courage and also went for vaccination.

By Ann Parlaker Gumkit, a young adult that is benefiting from the CPAR Uganda project: “Mentoring young adults into innovators against poverty”, and because of that is also participating as a researcher in another CPAR Uganda project: “Challenging Categories: Educated unemployed youth as institutional innovators in rural Uganda” that CPAR Uganda is implementing in partnership with Lira University and the University of East Anglia.

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