Uganda: How Govt Plans to Handle Pfizer Vaccine

The government has said it has the capacity to store and distribute the 647, 010 doses of American-made Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine that the country expects to receive this month.

This follows concerns that the country does not have a cold chain to handle the vaccine which requires ultra-low storage temperatures to remain effective.

Mr Moses Kamabare, the general manager of National Medical Stores (NMS), said the country has the capacity to store the Pfizer vaccine.

"We are already storing Ebola vaccines at -80 degrees centigrade. Yes, we can store Pfizer which is kept at -70 degrees centigrade," he said.

Ms Sheila Nduhukire, the NMS spokesperson, said even at the point of administration, the recommended temperature is 2-8 degrees centigrade which is the same as that for AstraZeneca vaccine.

The vaccine doses have been offered to the country by the global sharing initiative - Covax - which is run by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international health organisations.

Pfizer vaccine has an efficacy of 95 per cent, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) while the WHO rated the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine at 63 per cent.

The country started vaccination with AstraZeneca on March 10 after receiving 964,000 doses from Covax and the Indian government. Last month the government received additional 175,200 doses from the French government.

Up to 1,076,923 of the vaccines have so far been administered, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health. The government plans to vaccinate 22 million Ugandans to shield the country from the adverse effects of Covid-19 on health and economy in the country.

Yet to come

-286,080 doses of AstraZeneca, expected from Covax in July

-688,800 doses of AstraZeneca, expected from Covax by early August

-300,000 doses of Sinovac, expected from Chinese government in July

- Five million doses of Johnson & Johnson, expected through the African Union. (Date unspecified)

Source: The Monitor

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