The government of Uganda has approved the procurement of Eighteen Million (18,000,000) doses of COVID-19 Vaccines of the Astra Zeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India.
According to Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo, the government will spend at least 17 dollars to procure the vaccine for each person.
This means that the government will spend above one trillion shillings on the 18 million doses.
The Ministry of Health working 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, with priority being given to highly vulnerable groups such as persons aged 50 years and above, persons with underlying health conditions, health workers, security personnel, teachers among other essential social service providers.
According to Opondo, it was decided that each eligible individual will receive two (02) doses separated by 28 days and each dose costs USD 7, which amounts to USD 14 per person.
He said that the international transportation and handling costs by National Medical Stores is USD 3 and thus, a total cost for vaccine regimen is USD 17.
“The order placed will only be confirmed upon remission of USD 5,000,000 (Five Million dollars) as down payment of the total Amount,” He said.
In December 2020, the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Diana Atwine issued a statement saying it had ordered for 9 million doses of Covid-19 Vaccine and hoped that they would cover 20% of the country’s Population which is estimated at about 45 million people.
Atwine said that government had applied for the vaccine through the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) alliance to secure the Covid-19 Vaccine from Astra Zeneca.
However Opondo said that the COVAX facility managed by GAVI has communicated to the Government of Uganda, for 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 a quarterly basis of 35 – 40% available in Quarter I and 60-65% available in Quarter 2,” Opondo said.
The indicative allocation is subject to WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL) of the vaccine; manufacturing constraints, country readiness, the sequence of AMC Participants for the shipment plan, the time taken to place the purchase order, legal / regulatory obligations, as well as the supplier’s lead time and related logistics; and availability of other vaccines during this period.
Government says that the Ministry of Health is on course with preparations to receive these vaccines once they are made available.
Ofwono added that: “There is an emerging opportunity of acquiring vaccines through the African Union mechanism being coordinated by the African Vaccines Delivery Alliance and through this initiative, an initial 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been secured and are expected to grow.”
A credit facility of more tha 300 million dollars from Exim Bank is being prepared to guarantee loans for respective countries should they require an initiative.
He added that there is a growing interest from the private sector to participate in the COVID-19 vaccination efforts; however their participation will be guided by the National Task force.
He said, the interest of the private sector ranges from financing for vaccines targeting their staff and host communities on one hand to supporting the general service delivery components; information systems, logistics management, importation of vaccines and actual participation in vaccination of persons.
“The Ministry of Health has developed a draft concept note to guide the participation of the private sector detailing the regulatory processes and controls to ensure harmonious implementation of the vaccination activities in Uganda,” Opondo addedd.