uganda access covid-19 vaccine astrazeneca
Diana Atwine the health ministry's permanent secretary. FILE PHOTO

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced that the country will acquire vaccines from AstraZeneca.

As the coronavirus hits mile storm in Uganda, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced that Uganda will acquire vaccines from AstraZeneca.

In a statement dated 2nd January 2021, Diana Atwine the health ministry’s permanent secretary, access of the vaccine will be done in a phased manner starting with most vulnerable individuals and at risk. 

“Uganda will participate in the Global COVAX initiative for COVID-19 vaccine access and has already submitted an application to this effect which has been accepted by the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (GAVI).”

“Based on evidence available and recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Committee, #Uganda will access the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca. The access of the vaccine will be done in an equitable manner starting with the most vulnerable and more at risk,” Dr Atwine said.

Also, she said that the country will also explore the use of other traditional vaccine options including the one from China upon approval from the World Health Organization

Meanwhile, this comes at a time when hospitals countrywide are already overwhelmed by the increasing coronavirus cases. The Permanent Secretary also disclosed that during their meeting they discovered that there has been a surge in reported new cases countrywide during the last three months.

“There had been a reported surge in cases of COVID-19 within the country up to 88% or 22,000 cases during the last three months. There is an urgent need to access the COVID-19 vaccine for the people of Uganda, not only a mitigating strategy against the severe disease and deaths, but also a public health measures to enable a safe return to normalcy.” 

As of today, a total of 36,050 cases have been confirmed in Uganda after the Ministry Monday announced 128 new cases from COVID-19 tests done on 03 January 2021. Of these, 12,267 people have since been discharged after they recovered from the virus while 274 have succumbed to it.

uganda access covid-19 vaccine astrazeneca
Diana Atwine the health ministry’s permanent secretary. FILE PHOTO

About the AstraZeneca vaccine 

AstraZeneca vaccine is manufactured locally by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. The company produces more than 50 million doses a month.

The jab commonly known as Covishield in India is administered in two doses given between four and 12 weeks apart. It can be safely stored at temperatures of 2C to 8C, about the same as a domestic fridge, and can be delivered in existing health care settings such as doctors’ surgeries.

According to an article from the BBC, the vaccine is easier to distribute as compared to others. The article, however, noted that the vaccine must be stored at 70C and can only be moved a limited number of times.