Uganda is set to procure 18 million doses of Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine from India, according to a decision from the cabinet meeting that was held on Monday.
“The Ministry of Health working together with the National Medical Stores (NMS) has placed an order of eighteen million (18,000,000) doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India,” the statement from cabinet reads.
According to cabinet, the vaccine will be used to vaccinate persons from the age of 50 years and above, persons will underlying health conditions, health workers, security personnel, teachers, and other essential social service providers.
Cabinet said that each of the eligible individuals will be receiving two doses separated by 28 days and each dose will cost 7 US dollars (about 25,800 shs) which will amount to USD 14 per person, for the two doses.
Cabinet said that the international transportation and handling costs by the National Medical Stores is 3 US dollars and therefore the total cost if the vaccine regimen will be 17 dollars (62,600 shs) for everyone.
Government mouthpiece Ofwono Opondo noted in a statement that the COVAX facility which is managed by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) has communicated to them, that a tentative allocation of 3, 552,000 doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine due by end of February or beginning of March 2021.
“The indicative doses are expected to be available to Uganda on quarterly basis, 35 – 40% available in Quarter 1 and 60-65% available in Quarter 2,” Ofwono Opondo noted.
Opondo also noted that there is another opportunity of receiving vaccines from the African Union through its mechanism which is being coordinated by the African Vaccines Delivery Alliance.
“Through this initiative, an initial 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been secured and are expected to grow,” Opondo noted.
Opondo said that there is also growing interest from local scientists to participate in processes of making treatment regimens locally in Uganda and these have been advised to work closely with the Ministry of Health.