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WHO envoy urges donor support for distributing Covid-19 vaccines to rural areas

Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | As Uganda continues to receive COVID-19 vaccine donations, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative on Tuesday said donors need to support the distribution of the vaccines to remote areas.

Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, WHO representative to Uganda, told reporters that developing countries need support to ensure that vaccines reach everyone including those in remote areas.

“We need support to take the vaccines to the districts for health workers to be able to do the vaccination, for monitoring, for looking into the adverse effects. All these things require funding and yes the government of Uganda has allocated some funds but the requirement is far higher,” he said.

Woldemariam made the remarks at a ceremony in which Uganda received a second batch of the Sinovac vaccine donated by the Chinese government. The first batch of Sinovac arrived in July.

Dr. Alfred Driwale, head of Uganda National Expanded Program on Immunization told Xinhua in an interview that distribution of vaccines is costly since donations are made in small quantities which forces trucks to make many return trips.

Driwale said the health workers also have to be retrained as different vaccines have different requirements.

“We have to train them each time on the vaccine type, cold chain requirements. These overheads which are required for safe delivery of vaccines are very expensive,” he said.

Uganda has so far received 6.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. As of Saturday, about 2.6 million doses had been administered, according to ministry of health figures.

The country aims to vaccinate about 22 million people, or nearly half the population, in order to fully open up the economy.



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