Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Health says the 1,674,270 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine it has received from the US government will be administered only within Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono.
Dr. Alfred Driwale, the program manager of Uganda National Expanded Program on Immunization says the Pfizer vaccine doses will be limited to the vaccination centres in Kampala metropolitan area due to the lack of ultracold storage facilities across the country.
He adds that the doses will be administered to 800,000 people so that they get both jabs by January next year. Those targeted include teachers, support staff, people aged over 50 years old or are over 18 years with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
As a result, the Pfizer doses will be stored at National Medical Stores-NMS and will be distributed to the various centres in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono stating next week on Monday.
Dr. Paul Okware, the head of stores and operations at NMS says the agency received three fridges that can store Pfizer vaccines at -80°C . The fridges were donated by UNICEF and can store 3 million doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.
Moses Kamabare, the NMS General Manager says the agency has the capacity to store a total of six million doses of the various COVID-19 vaccines.
The Pfizer doses arrived as cargo aboard an Emirates Airlines flight after 3pm on Monday. They were received by a delegation from the US Embassy, World Health Organization-WHO and Ministry of health.
The US ambassador Natalie E. Brown handed over the doses to Margaret Muhanga, the Minister of State for Primary Healthcare.
Brown says the latest batch of vaccine doses is part of the 500million Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses the US government has pledged to deliver to 92 countries globally including Uganda to boost their mass vaccination efforts.
Brown says the US government has thereby donated over 2.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses after the first batch of 647,080 Moderna vaccine doses were delivered early this month.
Brown added that the US government has provided 111 million US Dollars, about shillings 400 billion, towards Uganda’s Covid-19 response namely prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the lethal disease.
“We will continue to do all we can to support the Uganda people until this pandemic ends,” Brown said.
Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry of health has lauded the US government for the donations. She is however urging the public to embrace vaccination.
Muhanga says the 1.6million Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses have been processed by the COVAX, the global dose sharing facility.
She agrees with Atwine on the need for embracing vaccination so that the economy is opened up fully in January 2022.