Uganda to destroy Shs 28.1bn worth of COVID-19 vaccines

Uganda to destroy Shs 28.1bn worth of COVID-19 vaccines
Covid-19 Vaccines arriving in Uganda

Uganda is set to destroy more than 10 million doses of expired COVID-19 vaccines, valued at 28.1 billion Ugandan shillings, according to a report from the Auditor General submitted to parliament this week.

The vaccines, including AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer, Sinopharm, and Sinovac, were imported using a World Bank loan and donations from other countries. The total number of vaccines received stands at 55,043,440.

In a report submitted to parliament this week, the Auditor General, John Muwanga, revealed that Uganda will destroy expired COVID-19 vaccines worth USD 7.4 million, equivalent to about UGX 28.1bn following a slump in demand for the jabs.

“The vaccines were a new entity in our system and they had a short shelf life; two years maximum for those that we bought as government, and then we had those that came in and had only six months’ shelf life. When we quantify the vaccines we have lost, that’s about about 12% of the total,” Dr. Daniel Kyabayinze, the Director Public Health at the Ministry of Health reveals.

Kyabayinze says since the global declaration that COVID-19 is no longer a public health concern, the demand for the jabs has significantly decreased.

“After the pandemic was declared over as a public health concern, there were a lot of people not willing to take vaccines again because the announcement went out viral. Similarly, we got people circulating wrong information about the vaccines.”

The vaccines which were part of Uganda's efforts to combat the pandemic, are to be withdrawn from different health facilities and stores and destroyed.  Given the significant monetary value attached to the vaccines, the planned disposal of these doses raises questions about the impact it will have on the country's vaccination efforts.

However, Kyabayinze says not all the vaccines in stock are expired, and calls upon the unvaccinated members of the public to take advantage of the next two months to get the jab.

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