Dozens of Somali shop owners, shop assistants and other business persons operating at the ‘Marine Market’ inside the Halane Base Camp in Mogadishu have started receiving COVID-19 vaccines, courtesy of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) serving under the Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
The traders received the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday 30 August 2021, as part of efforts to enable them to conduct their business safely, while also adhering to COVID-19 protocols.
In March 2020, the Marine Market was closed down as part of the lockdown measures by AMISOM to control and contain the spread of COVID-19 in the Halane Base Camp.
The restrictions have eased, but with strict preventive guidelines to be adhered to by all, including both traders and customers.
The Acting AMISOM Deputy Sector 1 Commander, Col. Sam Mwesiga, said he was delighted that the local leadership and business community at the market had fully embraced the vaccination exercise.
“Today’s vaccination exercise is important in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Col. Mwesiga. Col. Mwesiga, who is also the chairperson of the Uganda contingent COVID-19 Response Taskforce, said vaccination of the traders is one of AMISOM’s interventions in the ongoing campaign against COVID-19. In May 2021, AMISOM Sector 1 started vaccinating its military and police personnel and by August, most of them had received their second dose.
“We have given the second dose to most of our troops in AMISOM, and we think it is important that we take care of those that we live with in our community. We also believe that if all of us are vaccinated, it will help us get back to some level of normalcy,” said the Commanding Officer of the AMISOM Level II Hospital, Lt. Col Dr Ben Nsajju.
The Vice Chairman of Marine Business Community Association, Mohammed Dahir Ahmed, who was the first to be vaccinated, thanked AMISOM on behalf of the traders for extending the COVID-19 vaccination support to them.
“We have today received the first phase of the vaccine. I was the first to be vaccinated and many others are getting theirs.
This is a very noble exercise by AMISOM, which will protect all of us,” said Dahir. Amina Mohammed, a trader at the market, said that with more business people getting vaccinated, she was hopeful that things will soon get back to normal.
“I am pleased to have received the vaccine because this will enable us to safely conduct business. COVID-19 is real, that cannot be disputed. What would help is if more people got vaccinated and we can get back to normal. If that happens, I am very hopeful that there will be more business and increased opportunities for us here in this market.”