The National Medical Stores (NMS) has Saturday morning received the fourth and fifth batches of COVID-19 vaccines in Uganda. The vaccines were handed over by Minister of Health Dr Ruth Aceng to NMS General Manager Mr Moses Kamabare at the NMS Headquarters in Entebbe. ‘‘We have received 286,080 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine under the dose sharing arrangement through the COVAX facility donated by the Norwegian Government and a donation of 300,000 doses of the Sinovac from the People’s Republic of China’’,said Dr Aceng.
‘We have also received 100 oxygen cylinders and the attendant accessories (100regulators, 100spindle keys and 100oxygen masks) from UNICEF as part of the COVID-19 Pandemic response’’This supplements the initial 1,139,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that Uganda received in March and June 2021. With these doses, Aceng said Uganda has vaccinated 902,992 people with the first dose while 240,771 have received their second dose.
‘‘This points to the widening gap of individuals due for second dose and the larger Ugandan population that needs to be inoculated yet we have inadequate vaccines in the country. Therefore, I would like to appreciate the Norwegian Government and the People’s Republic of China for bridging the gap of inadequate vaccines and prioritizing COVID-19 vaccination in Uganda’’, she observed.
The National Medical Stores, whose mandate is to procure, store and deliver essential medicines and health supplies across Uganda, will distribute the vaccines after receiving a distribution schedule from the Ministry of Health. The NMS General Manager Moses Kamabare noted that “distribution of the vaccines will commence as soon as the Ministry of Health provides the distribution list to NMS’’
NMS, which runs a state-of-the-art cold storage facility, earlier this week received PPEs donated by France.The Norwegian Chief Of Mission in Uganda, Arne Haug said ‘Uganda has handled the pandemic very well and that Norway was happy to hand over the vaccine through the COVAX facility, adding, that Norway will continue to support Uganda in the fight against COVID-19’’
Haug said, ‘navigating the pandemic – so that we can emerge stronger – will require strong partnerships – to ensure that no one is left behind. Partnerships like the one between Norway and Uganda,? he added.The Unicef representative to Uganda, Dr Munir Safieldin said the organisation would soon install four oxygen plants across Uganda.
He said the equipment is ‘currently in France and soon they will be airlifted to Uganda’’The Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, Zhang Lizhong said President Museveni and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, ‘have been exchanging messages of support and solidarity for each other and our people; how the two sides support each other within the best of our capability in masks, gloves and personal protection equipment and other materials; how the Chinese government provide batches of assistance to Uganda to fight the pandemic and how the Uganda government includes the Chinese nationals living in Uganda in its overall vaccination program and provided special agreement and provided a special agreement and facilitation for them to be inoculated with Chinese vaccines’’
He said the donated doses of COVID-19 vaccines will play a role in helping with mass vaccination efforts of Uganda to curb the spread of the pandemic at this critical juncture as the second wave hits Uganda. Dr Aceng said Government of Uganda’s strategy is mass vaccination of the eligible population (22 million representing 49.8%) as a means of optimal control of the pandemic and full opening up of the economy.