Discrimination Keeps Albinos Away from Covid19 Vaccination

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People living with albinism condition have explained that discrimination is one of the major reasons that have kept them away from the ongoing massive vaccination against the novel Corona Virus Disease -Covid19.

Hajelah Kagwa, the Busoga East region coordinator for people with albinism said many people still discriminate against them especially when they go for public health services. Kagwa explained that many people have negative thoughts toward people with albinism.

Kagwa said it is painful for them to be in a place where people start talking about how albinos are used for sacrifice, getting their blood, hair, or a piece of their skin in order to attain wealth and please their traditional rituals.

” Even on the district task force for Covid19, there is no person representing albinos or with a disability which limited many of our colleagues from getting first-hand information about Covid19 vaccination and guidelines. If you are not involved in the planning process, you end up keeping yourself away from such programs,” Kagwa said.

In 2020 during International Albinism Awareness Day (IAAD), Covid19 was reported to have made life for people with albinism very challenging. Scientists and the UN describe albinism as a condition where there is an absence of pigment in the skin. It is estimated that one out of every 1,400 people in Tanzania is affected by Albinism.

Sam Clarke, the communication manager for an international NGO was quoted by Anadolu Agency as to have said: “We’ve received disturbing reports of people with albinism being called ‘corona’ and blamed for the outbreak of this ‘foreign’ virus.”

Edwards Edmond, a person with albinism said misinformation from the public about the vaccination that it causes a premature erection, and causes death to aged persons especially those over 50 years have also scared many albinos from embracing the Covid19 vaccination.

” I got my jabs because am a leader and it took me a month to get my first vaccine due to fear. I took my survey and chose the person to vaccinate me. I also thought of a backup plan if I experienced a negative effect. I also surveyed where to get the jab that I was convinced was safe after reading a lot about vaccines,” Edmond said.

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Edmond said many of the people with albinism have not been vaccinated due to failure to access the vaccination centers and we need a specific vaccination center for albinos and enough doses for them which are available at all times.

Kagwa and Edmond queuing up for Covid19 vaccines also prohibited many albinos from receiving the jabs because they could not withstand sunshine since their skins are a bit delicate.

“We tried to organize a specific vaccination center for people with disability but as Iganga district we failed due to lack of funds and proper communication from the caretakers of these groups of people yet we still have a number of doses in the store like Johnson and Johnson, and Pfizer,” Patrick Kitimbo said.

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