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Uganda to buy more 7 million doses of Johnson & Johnson

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By Monitor Team

Uganda is set to buy more seven million doses of Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine in addition to the two million doses that had earlier been ordered.

Mr Adonia Ayebare, the country’s permanent representative to the United Nations and also a member of Uganda vaccine acquisition committee, on Wednesday said the order was reached during an August 3 zoom meeting between the governments and an official of the American pharmaceutical company.

“I can confirm that I arranged the meeting which resulted in the increase of the doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines for Uganda by more seven million,” he said.

The Health ministry permanent secretary, Dr Diana Atwine, on Thursday told Saturday Monitor that the decision to acquire additional doses was informed by the availability of the vaccines.

 “We learnt that more doses were available and we want to get many vaccines. Remember we expected some in July, but we wanted more vaccines,” she said.

In an August 5 statement, the Health ministry revealed that it was expecting total of nine million doses of the single-shot vaccine.

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These would inoculate nine million people, of the 21.9 million target population.

Dr Atwiine said some of the doses are expected in the country this month, or during the first week of next month.

Information from the Vaccine Acquisitions Committee indicates that a total of $10.5m (about Shs37) was deposited, being a 15 per cent down payment for the vaccines.

Dr Henry Mwebesa, the director of General Health Services, said, until last week, there were no offers for extra doses from Covax and government guided that the ministry acquires extra vaccines from J&J since they were available.

Government is buying the J&J doses through the African Union (AU). Initially, Uganda had concluded a deal to buy two million Covid-19 vaccines from the American pharmaceutical company through the AU.

The Ministry of Health data indicates that 1,248,861 Covid-29 vaccine doses have been administered.

The country has so far relied on donations from Covax, India and Norway to inoculate 1.7 million people.

Last month, President Museveni said the country next month expects to receive 647,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine from USA, 688,000 of AstraZeneca vaccine from Covax and 299,000 doses from United Kingdom, all donations. This brings the total to1634, 000 doses of vaccines, which will cater for 817,000 people.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Health received 299,520 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the United Kingdom (UK) through the Covax. This brings the total doses of vaccines received by Uganda to 2.2 million as it steps up its effort in the fight against Covid-9.

The Minister of State for Primary Health Care,  Ms Margaret Muhanga said: “The strategy of the government is to mass vaccinate the eligible population of 22 million people of 18 years and above to enable us fully open up. We have nearly a million people who have got the first jab of the vaccine and 320,000 who have got both jabs.”

Mr Andrew Ockenden, the development director at the British High Commission, said Uganda will receive three million doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine from the UK through the Covax facility by June next year.

“We have been pushing for equitable access to the vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. The UK was instrumental in getting the Covax facility set up, providing £ 548 million to get 100 million doses of the vaccines worldwide over the next year. At least 30 million of these doses will be shared by the end of 2021, and Uganda will receive three million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine” he said on Thursday.

Mr Ockenden said the consignment was part of the UK’s contribution to help Uganda tackle the pandemic.

“To date, Uganda has received 1,725,280 vaccines through the Covax scheme. The additional 299,520 doses from the UK will be used to give a second dose to high priority groups and the most vulnerable, including teachers, those 50 years and above and those 18 years and above with underlying health risks” he said.

The National Medical Stores General manager, Mr Moses Kamabare, said the vaccines will be distributed to the respective health centres according to a list generated by the Ministry of Health.

Background

Information from the Vaccine Acquisitions Committee indicates that a total of $10.5m (about Shs37) was deposited, being a 15 per cenat down payment for the vaccines.

Complied by, Elizabeth Kamurungi, Nobert Atukunda & Paul Adude

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