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Speed Up Covid-19 Vaccine Procurement, Archbishop Kaziimba Tells Gov’t

The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu has appealed to government to strengthen the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines for Ugandans.

Kaziimba made the statement during the Sunday Service at his residence in Namirembe.

“Covid-19 is still present,”  said Archbishop Kaziimba. “Olympic games have started in Tokyo, and this means that these other countries have gone a step forward in vaccination. We pray that our government also strengthens vaccination of people… procurement of vaccines should be highly considered.”

Uganda has cumulatively received a negligible 1,139,260 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for its target of 22 million people to vaccinate against Covid-19 and there is intensifying pressure on government to procure more Covid-19 vaccines since it is the best line of defense against the Coronavirus.

The receivd doses have enabled full vaccination of 185,170 persons and 687,744 individuals have received at least a single dose. In total, Uganda needs at least 45 million doses of vaccines to cover the target population.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health indicate that by 22nd July, 2022, the country had registered a total of 92,115 cases of Covid-19 and out of these, 74,418 people had recovered, 2,526 died while 754 remain actively admitted in health centers across the country.

So far, all vaccines used in the country have been donations from India, Covax and France. The Ministry of Health first received a budget of 18 billion, and another instalment of 23 billion, totaling 41 billion to buy vaccines but all this has yielded nothing so far.

In her statement to parliament recently regarding the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja revealed a resurgence plan worth 1.32 trillion Shillings in anticipation of another Coronavirus wave and out of this, only 2.62 billion has been earmarked towards vaccination. 

Nabbanja indicated that Uganda will have to undertake complex and non-conventional measures to increase its competitiveness in acquiring vaccines for the population in order to increase access to Covid-19 vaccines.

“To guide this endeavour in the context of global shortage in supply, a priority list of Covid-19 vaccines has been generated to guide efforts, the priority list provides leverage for the Ministry of Health to instruct the National Medical Stores to initiate procurement of vaccines on the list when the stocks become available,” read part of her statement.

The proposed priority list of COVID-19 vaccines for use in Uganda has AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer BioNTech, SINOVAC, S/NOPHARM, Sputnik V, Sputnik Lite and Moderna.

Nabbanja says that to accelerate the acquisition of vaccines, direct procurement may have to be considered as a procurement method under the challenging circumstances of vaccines scarcity. 

Archbishop Kaziimba encouraged Ugandans to also positively receive the vaccines when more are availed. He also condemned acts of vaccine faking and other medicines. 

In his address recently, President Yoweri Museveni said that the country is expecting more 688,00 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines in early August. 

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