Unicef seeks Covid jab supplier for Uganda

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Unicef seeks Covid jab supplier for Uganda
Unicef seeks Covid jab supplier for Uganda

Africa-PressUganda. There is intensifying pressure on government to find more Covid-19 vaccines as the current batch will only serve this week . At the end of May, government transferred $11m( about Shs38.7b)Last month, government transferred $11m (Shs38.7b) to United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) for procurement of vaccines through COVAX under the cost sharing arrangement.

But Ms Catherine Ntabadde, the communication specialist At Unicef, said the vaccines will only be procured after the 20 per cent funded by Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) /COVAX has been completed.Daily Monitor has learnt that UNICEF is looking for a supplier for the vaccines and that due to global shortage, the procurement will be shipped towards end of year or beginning of 2022.

“Until we identify one [supplier] and ascertain the unit cost, it is then that we will be able to know how many doses we can get from the $11m,” Ms Ntabadde said on Tuesday.Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) is a global initiative working with governments, manufacturers and partners such as the World Health Organisation to ensure Covid-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher and lower-income countries.

UNICEF is a key implementing partner handling the procurement and delivery of the vaccines and related supplies on behalf of the facility.Recently the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines by government from Serum Institute in India (SII) hit a snag following high burden and demand in India. The government has since then expanded its options on where to get vaccines.

In Uganda, at least 748,676 people have received the Covid-19 jab. Dr Ruth Jane Aceng, former Health minister, recently told this newspaper y that in the next financial year government has availed Shs85b towards procurement of vaccines. “In this financial year you will recall that Parliament passed a supplementary of $5m that we were supposed to pay to SII and get vaccines. Unfortunately there was a technical delay and it didn’t happen,” Dr Aceng said last Friday.

She added:” Subsequently Ministry of Finance increased the money to make it $11m which we have paid through UNICEF to buy more vaccines.”COVAX had allocated a tentative about 3.5m doses as donation to Uganda but 864,000 doses were delivered. In two weeks time, Uganda is set to receive additional 175,200 doses of AstraZeneca from COVAX manufactured by AstraZeneca Sweden.

In his address to the nation on Sunday, President Museveni said other options from Russia and China, among others, are being considered.Prof David Sserwadda, the head Covid-19 vaccine advisory committee, said although a number of people have offered vaccines, their shelf life is not favourable“We are going to get some vaccines this month. The exact quantity is very unpredictable due to high demand but also we don’t want to get vaccines that will expire quickly,” he said.

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