Uganda resumes Covid-19 vaccination after acquiring new doses – The East African

Uganda acquires more Covid-19 vaccines and resumes inoculations, two weeks after it ran out of doses. PHOTO | FILE | NMG
Uganda on Tuesday resumed vaccination of its citizens against Covid-19 following the recent acquisition of 586,000 vaccine doses.
Last month, the country stopped inoculations after it ran out of vaccines.
Last week, the country received 286,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a donation from Norway through the Covax facility and received another 300,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine, a donation from China.
Health authorities said that those who had received a single shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be prioritised for a second shot of the same.
On Monday, the country’s National Medical Stores dispatched several doses to health centres across the country, ready for uptake the day after.
On Tuesday, several health centres were overwhelmed by hundreds of people who thronged them from early morning waiting for the vaccines. However, the health centres had limited capacity to attend to all those who wanted the vaccines.  
Health Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Ainebyona said that going forward, the country would set up more vaccination centres but by Wednesday afternoon, no such centres had been set up.
The country, which has just come out of a total lockdown following a viscous second wave of the virus, has seen daily numbers of new cases drop from an average of 1,000 to about 100. 
Uganda has so far administered 1,157,226 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with just 4,129 people fully vaccinated.
The country has a target of vaccinating about 21.9 million people—49% of its population. This will enable optimal control of the virus and full opening up of the economy. Some sectors have been closed and others interrupted by sporadic lockdowns since March 2020.
Uganda, just like the other nations on the continent, is facing difficulty in accessing vaccines, which has derailed its vaccination plan.
The country’s national drug authority has approved six global vaccines for emergency use with the list subject to additions when new vaccines are approved by the World Health Organization.
Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng told The EastAfrican last week that her ministry was looking at acquiring AstraZeneca, Janssen, Pfizer/BionTech, Sinovac, Sinopharm, Sputnik V, Sputnik Lite and Moderna vaccines.
The ministry said that Ugandans will be at liberty to decide which vaccine they want when it is available.
The ministry is also working on modalities for the private sector to purchase vaccines through the national medical stores and how vaccination can take place at private entities.
The country has placed an order of 9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines through the Covax facility. It has also placed an order of 2 million Johnson&Johnson vaccines through the African Union with a downpayment of $3 million.
Uganda has identified four sources of vaccines given the difficulty it has faced with acquiring doses on time. These are purchases through the Covax facility, African Union, directly from manufacturers and donations through Covax.
“Government has instructed our embassies abroad to search for available vaccines and inform the ministry accordingly,” Dr Aceng said last week.
There is a high demand for the vaccines and the government wants to ensure priority is given to vulnerable groups.
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