City tycoon Sudhir takes COVID-19 jab
Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | More prominent Ugandan leaders are taking lead in receiving COVID-19 vaccine jabs contrary to earlier reports that the move would endanger people’s lives.
City tycoon, Sudhir Ruparalia, on March 25, received his first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine joining the growing number of Ugandans who have already taken the COVID jab.
Sudhir received the vaccine from UMC Victoria Hospital based at Bukoto, a few kilometres out of Kampala city centre.
UMC Victoria Hospital is the first private hospital to be accredited by the Ministry of Health to administer the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine.
On March 05, Uganda started preparations to kicked off its first phase of the vaccination against COVID-19 with the limited 964,000 doses got through donations to be administered to high-risk groups including healthcare providers, security personnel, teachers, journalists, persons aged 50 years and above and those with underlying health conditions to benefit from phase one of vaccination.
The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was shipped via the COVAX facility—the world’s facility for universal access to COVID-19 vaccines.
The arrival marked a historic step towards the goal to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally, in an unprecedented effort to provide at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021.
According to government officials, Uganda targets to vaccinate 49.6 % of the population, which is about 21,936,011, in a phased manner. Each phase is planned to cover 20% of the population – approximately 4.38 million people.
COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi – the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner.
UNICEF is handling the procurement and delivery of the vaccines and related supplies on behalf of the COVAX Facility.
The AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) were transported by UNICEF from India (Mumbai) to Uganda.
The COVAX facility has allocated 3,552,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Uganda for the period of January – June 2021. The remaining 2,688,000 doses are expected by June 2021.
Sudhir joins the list of prominent people like the Health Minister, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng who took her first doze on March 11 at Mulago National Referral Hospital. The others are; the commander of Special Forces, Lt. Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, top security officials, medical personnel, journalists in the country among others.
Ugandans have come out to comment on the bold move made by the prominent city businessman.
“Sudhir is more Ugandan than many of us,” Arthur D. Musinguzi, said on twitter.
Uganda has since March last year recorded a total of 40, 734 positive cases of the deadly pandemic, 15, 147 recoveries and 334 deaths.
Dr. Aceng told a press conference on March 25th that government has embarked on accrediting private sector companies, NGOs and other entities that are able to import the vaccine for their employees given that government has limited resources to import the vaccine for everyone.
To avoid abuse of this process, Aceng said, the importation would be done through the National Medical Stores (NMS). NMS is a government-owned organisation in Uganda, mandated to procure, store and distribute human medication and health-related consumable items to government-owned health units in all districts of Uganda.
Health experts support the idea of mass vaccination to pave way for unlocking the entire economy so that life goes back to normal.
As of today, a total of 46, 444 people have been vaccinated.
Several countries have previously suspended the use of AstraZeneca vaccine citing negative impact on those taking the jab, but the World Health Organisation and its partners insist the vaccine works and is safe.