Private companies and organisations can now write to the Director General of the Ministry of Health asking for permission to import COVID-19 vaccines for their staff.
This was revealed by the Minister for Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, who said that these vaccines will have to be cleared by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use and approved by the National Drug Authority (NDA) for use in Uganda.
Aceng revealed this while addressing the press on the Covid-19 situation in the country at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala.
“The Ministry of Health has received several requests and proposals from corporate entities and the private sector to vaccinate their employees against COVID-19. The Ministry would like to inform organizations that are interested in providing vaccines to their employees to write to the Director General Health Services requesting to import the vaccines,” Dr Aceng said.
Dr. Aceng said that the letter should indicate the number of employees and their dependents that are eligible for vaccination and importation will be allowed only through National Medical Stores, for purposes of maintaining the cold chain and viability of the vaccines.
Aceng however warned that these vaccines should not be for sale, and would only be for use within the organization that will have been cleared to import them.
Private hospitals set to provide COVID-19 vaccination
Dr. Aceng said that the health ministry is also in the process of accrediting private health facilities to provide COVID-19 vaccination.
Aceng said: “The list of these facilities will be provided once an understanding has been reached and a memorandum of understanding has been signed spelling out the modalities of the collaboration.”
Dr. Aceng said that vaccination against COVID-19 remains voluntary and no one should be coerced into getting vaccinated.
Dr. Aceng also reiterated that the AstraZeneca vaccine that was rolled out in Uganda is safe for use, saying that the WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) reviewed all available information and data on thromboembolic events (blood clots) and thrombocytopenia (low platelets) after vaccination with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, and found it safe.
“The GACVS COVID-19 sub-committee also reviewed clinical trial data and reports based on safety data from Europe, the United Kingdom, India and Vigibase, the WHO global database of individual case safety reports,” Dr. Aceng said, adding that;
“The subcommittee came to the following conclusions and recommendations (released 19 March 2021) : The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine continues to have a positive benefit-risk profile, with tremendous potential to prevent infections and reduce deaths across the world.”
Uganda received her first batch of COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccines on the 5th March 2021 and vaccination was launched on 10th March 2021 at Mulago Specialized Women’s and Neonatal Hospital. Uganda was given access to initial 964,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine.
So far, according to Dr. Aceng, at least 663,520 doses have distributed to all districts of the country and to-date, 32,526 people have received their 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.