A section of legislators are concerned about the distribution and potency of the recently acquired doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Kassanda North MP, Patrick Nsamba wondered whether the vaccine will be distributed to the high-risk groups around the country.
“We want the minister to explain the roll-out plan for the COVID-19 vaccine. Is it just for the important people in Kampala or will it actually be administered to the frontline workers and those who are high-risk individuals like health workers?” he asked.
Nsamba added that there is worldwide negativity towards AstraZeneca vaccine citing rejections in some European countries because of the reported side effects.
“We need our fears allayed on this matter and an assurance that the vaccine is safe,” Nsamba said.
Jacquiline Amongin (NRM, Ngora District) asked whether having received the vaccine and registered a drop in new infections, the Ministry plans to dial back on the COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Amongin demanded for accountability of the funds availed to the Health Ministry for fighting COVID-19.
“Businesses have been crippled because of the stated SOPs which have rendered certain sectors inactive. People are dying of stress because their source of income has been disturbed,” she added.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said that she had requested the National Taskforce on COVID-19 to reconsider some of the SOPs after receiving complaints from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that some prisoners could not be tried in court because of the SOPs.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Aceng said that government has received 964,000 vaccines are intended for health workers, teachers and security personnel who are at a high risk.
“We have over 150,000 health workers, a large number of security personnel and teachers across the country which poses a challenge to the ability of our vaccines to cover the entire target population,” Aceng said.
Aceng called on the public to adhere to the SOPs to avoid a second wave of the Covid-19.
The Minister added that US$5 million was provided for by the government for the procurement of the vaccines.
“Uganda targets to vaccinate 25 million people including the refugees. Donors will provide 18 million doses and government will have to procure the other 27 million doses to cover the estimated numbers,” she added.
She noted that the technology required in administration, handling and storage of the AstraZeneca vaccine is similar to what the local scientists and National Drug Authority use.
“It is something we can manage without any difficulty and the vaccine has been approved by the WHO so there is no call for alarm,” the minister added.
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