"We want Government to come up with a clear procedure of getting the right vaccine," says Lillian Aber, the chairperson of the national youth council.
PIC: Members of the national youth council, from left: Caroline Karungi, Lillian Aber and Samuel Odong. (Credit: Cecilia Okoth)
HEALTH | VACCINATION
By Cecilia Okoth & Lisa Nsaba
KAMPALA - Some youths who recently took what turned out to be declared fake Hepatitis B vaccines have reported not being able to function in bed.
This was revealed by the national youth council chairperson, Lillian Aber, on Wednesday.
She was speaking at a press conference in Kampala, addressing youth concerns, including youth unemployment.
Aber said the fake Hepatitis B vaccine some young people took has affected both their health and welbeing.
She said since the wrong vaccine was administered, no hospital has been reprimanded for their actions.
"Many youths have been victims of this fake vaccine. We, therefore, want Government to come up with a clear procedure of getting the right vaccine," she said, flanked by council publicity secretary Samuel Odong and member Caroline Karungi.
"What we speak is what we have gathered from them. And, we have not seen anywhere reported that this group of agencies that imported these drugs into the country have been punished," Aber told reporters.
So has the council received proof from youths that they have not been able to perform?
"Our statement is that we have gathered information from young people and this is what they are saying," the chairperson said.
'Perpetrators should be punished'
One reporter put this question to the team: Isn't it a wild allegation for the national youth council to come out and say such a thing?
"I think the main issue here to talk about is: is it a fact that this medicine has been proven to be fake or authentic? That is the main issue that we need to address," Saidi Kirarira, the secretary legal affairs, responded.
"If we focus our mindset on the after-affects of this medicine, then we are concentrating on something that is trivial, and leaving something that is bigger.
"If this medicine is fake and not authentic, then we should condemn it being on the market and the perpetrators of bringing this medicine on the market should be punished by the law," Kirarira said.
Mid-last month, the government set out to probe several health facilities reported by the National Drug Authority (NDA) to have been found with stocks of fake Hepatitis B vaccines.
The news of the fake vaccines thrust the public into panic mode, with reports of the potential after-effects of taking the wrong shot spreading.
Some reports pointed to impotence as one of the effects.
However, NDA board chairman Dr Medard Bitekyerezo went on to call for calm from the public as they investigated selected health facilities.
Hepatitis B is most commonly spread by exposure to infected bodily fluids.
The symptoms vary and include yellowing of the eyes, abdominal pain and dark urine. Some people, particularly children, do not experience any symptoms.
In chronic cases, liver failure, cancer or scarring can occur.