On Monday , Uganda received a donation of 1,674,270 doses of Pfizer from the United States government.
However, the vaccine will only be administered to people living in Kampala Metropolitan Area because according to the programs manager of Uganda National Expanded Program on Immunization Dr. Alfred Driwale, Pfizer vaccine doses require specific measures of temperature that is why they will be limited to the vaccination centres in the central due to the lack of ultracold storage facilities across the country.
“The doses will be administered to 800,000 people so that they get both jabs by January next year. And we are targeting special groups such as teachers, support staff, people aged over 50 years old or are over 18 years with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension,”Dr Driwale said.
Due to the sensitivity of the vaccines, Pfizer doses will be stored at National Medical Stores (NMS), and from there they will be distributed to different vaccination points in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono starting Monday next week.
Dr. Paul Okware, the head of stores and operations at NMS, says they are able to store the vaccines because United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) donated three fridges to them and these fridges can store over 3million Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines at -80°C. He added that NMS can store a total of six million doses of the various COVID-19 vaccines.
The Pfizer doses arrived in Uganda aboard an Emirates Airlines flight on Monday at 3 pm and they were received by a delegation from the US Embassy, World Health Organization-WHO and the Ministry of health.
While handing over the doses to the Minister of State for Primary Healthcare Margaret Muhanga, the US ambassador Her Excellency Natalie E. Brown, said that the latest batch is part of the 500million Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses the US government pledged to deliver to 92 countries globally, Uganda inclusive to boost their mass vaccination efforts.
“US government has thereby donated over 2.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses after the first batch of 647,080 Moderna vaccine doses were delivered early this month. We will continue to do all we can to support the Uganda people until this pandemic ends,” Brown said.
Muhanga welcomed the donation and said that the 1.6million Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses have been processed by the COVAX, the global dose sharing facility. She however urged the public to embrace vaccination so that the economy is opened up fully in January 2022.
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