Expectant mothers shun COVID – 19 vaccination over miscarriages

By Gladys Kigozi
In a bid to curb further spread of Covid-19, the government of Uganda embarked on the immunisation exercise to minimize the death rate and severe disease. However, some expectant mothers in Mukono District have vowed not to go in for vaccination due to fear that they may get miscarriages.
Ritah Nakibuule, a resident of Lwanyonyi in Nama Sub-county, Mukono District, says she cannot go for the jab after being told by her friend that it led to a miscarriage.
“My friend was four months pregnant and went for vaccination at a certain health facility in Mukono, but she complained of headache, backache and after a few days, she got a miscarriage,” Nakibuule said.
Nakibuule is not alone as there are many expectant mothers thinking the same. Another woman, who preferred not to disclose her identity, narrates that she cannot go in for immunisation because “it has many serious side effects”.
“My sister was two months pregnant and went for vaccination at a health facility in Ntenjeru. After a few days, she developed complications like severe fever, headache and running stomach, among others. At the end, she got a  miscarriage,” she said.
The Mukono General Hospital Administrator, Mr Fred Wandeme, said they have not received such cases at the facility.
The District Health Officer, Dr Stephen Mulindwa, said side effects are expected but they are not as fatal as they are being portrayed. 
The Initiative for Social and Economic Rights program officer in-charge of the Right to Health, Ms Sumaya Labila Musoke, said that the Ministry of Health advises expectant mothers who are 1-4 months pregnant not to go in for a jab.
“The problem is that when these expectant mothers go to the vaccination centres, they fail to open up to health workers carrying out the immunisation exercise,” she said.
However, she advised those who are 5-9 months pregnant to go in for vaccination because research shows that the vaccine is safe for them.
She further indicated that, as the organisation, they encourage all citizens to participate in the immunisation exercise as part of their right towards accessing professional medical services as well as being their right, as is all part of their duty to participate in government programs as indicated in the 1995 Constitution under Article 38.
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