Nile Breweries Ltd (NBL), Uganda’s beer market leader, today launched a simultaneous COVID-19 vaccination drive to support the Ministry of Health by setting up walk-in vaccination centers at 20 of its distribution sites across the country.

The launch was flagged off at Kasanga in Kampala at a ceremony presided by the Minister of State for Health (Primary Healthcare?). Margaret Muhanga

It was significantly symbolized by a vaccination of 2 residents of Makindye division by Dr Daniel Kyabayinza, the National Vaccination Coordinator, Incident Command, Ministry of Health.

“We thank Nile Breweries for consistently supporting the Ministry of Health in its anti-Covid-19 efforts. We need to use such drives to reach to every area so that especially old people are vaccinated so that we can reach target of 4.8M so government can open the economy in January,” said Hon Muhanga.

“We fore see that we shall have reached 6m because this month we are receiving 3.5M doses of Pfizer and we are also getting more doses of Johnson &Johnson by December. Since it is one dose we shall vaccinate a critical mass,” she added.

The two-day drive on 4TH   & 5th November, is to make the vaccine more accessible to up to 10,000 frontline and vulnerable categories of people, among whom are bar workers, a critical value chain of NBL.

The comes against the backdrop of President Yoweri Museveni’s call to have bar workers included among the 4.8 million frontline and vulnerable categories who should be vaccinated by December to allow for schools and the economy to open, in January 2022.

“At NBL, we believe in safety first and are committed to safeguard the health of our employees, customers and communities. This pandemic has shown us that the best way to protect lives is through the private sector and government working together,” David Valencia, Nile Breweries Country Director, said.

“Vaccination is our best chance to protect ourselves, our families, and our colleagues from the dangers of COVID-19, and we hope as many people as possible take advantage of this opportunity,” he added.

NBL collaborated with District Covid task forces to make the mobilisation and vaccination exercise possible. In Kampala, KCCA health team, led by Kampala Health Inspector Dr Daniel Okello Ayen will be holding the 2-day drive.

“It is important that we vaccinate because we are not only protecting ourselves but also those we love,” he said.

The centers were each equipped with vaccination tents staffed by nurses and a waiting tent allowing distanced seating. All sites will adhere to social-distancing protocols.

NBL also conducted awareness drives on radio, social media, branded trucks, and live coverage from the sites to encourage Ugandans to get vaccinated to protect themselves and slow the spread of the virus.

Districts include, Arua, Gulu, Lira, Nebbi, Moroto, Soroti, Tororo, Mbale, Kapchorwa, Kasese, Kabale, Mukono, Buikwe, Kampala, Jinja, Masaka, Hoima, Mityana, Kampala and Mbarara.

According to Onapito Ekomoloit, Legal & Corporate Director Nile Breweries, the onus is on us as Ugandans to work together to beat Covid 19. “We are saying, play your part, get vaccinated, because only if we each deliberately put in this effort will be able to have our economy open,” he said.

NBL previously donated 300 oxygen cylinders for use in COVID critical-care wards, 25,000kg of maize meal to those threatened by food insecurity during the first lockdown, 2,400 litres of fuel to COVID Task Forces, and medical equipment valued at Shs60 million for Mulago Hospital Intensive Care Unit to assist in the fight against the pandemic.

Over 20 Vaccination Centers Have Been Chosen To House The Exercise (Picture: Courtesy)

To crown the vaccination exercise, the public at all the 20 vaccination centers were given a bottle of beer to carry home and enjoy at an appropriate time courtesy of Nile Breweries Ltd.

Also in attendance of the event was Makindye Division counselor in charge of public health Ms Josephine Nasozi and Executive Director PSFU- Francis Kasirinya.