Health minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng has dismissed media reports indicating President Yoweri and his inner circle have already been vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19).
Addressing the media at the ministry of Health headquarters, Aceng said the only COVID-19 vaccines that have so far come into the country were from China and exclusively for Chinese nationals in Kapeeka. She said no other person or Ugandan has had access to the coronavirus jabs within the country.
Below is Dr Aceng's slightly abridged statement in full
The ministry of Health has noted with concern an article that was published in today's Daily Monitor titled 'Museveni 'inner circle' got Covid jabs - US Paper.'
The Monitor article further quotes an American newspaper, The Wall Street Journal that reported that "Members of President Yoweri Museveni's inner circle were offered vaccines from China state-owned drug maker Sinopharm."
On behalf of the ministry of Health and government of Uganda, I want to categorically state that NEITHER PRESIDENT YOWERI MUSEVENI NOR ANY OF HIS 'INNER CIRCLE' HAVE BEEN VACCINATED AGAINST COVID-19 as alleged by both The Daily Monitor and the American newspaper, The Wall Street Journal.
Both media houses are spreading false and unfounded information with a potential of misleading the population and defaming the name of the president.
In December 2020, the government of Uganda, upon request from the Chinese embassy in Uganda, authorized the importation of 4,000 doses of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine for Liao Shen Industrial Park in Kapeeka, Nakaseke district through Sino Africa Medicines and Health Ltd strictly for exclusive use by the said Chinese nationals in the park.
The ministry would like to reiterate that these vaccines have not been used for any Ugandan other than the target population (the Chinese nationals living in Kapeeka).
Uganda will access COVID-19 vaccines as follows:
i) AstraZeneca vaccines from Serum Institute of India: Of the 18 million doses ordered for, 400,000 doses will be initially provided for by Mid-March 2021. The rest will be provided in phases.
ii) Donations under the COV AX facility; The COV AX facility has communicated a tentative allocation of 3,552,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Uganda. Of the above allocation, 864,000 doses will be shipped into the country by mid-March 2021 while the rest will be provided on a quarterly basis in the course of 2021.
iii) A donation of 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the Government of India. The ministry is concluding on the requirements for shipping. The arrival date of these vaccines will be communicated in due course.
iv) A donation of 300,000 doses of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine from The People's Republic of China has been communicated to the government of Uganda. However, modalities of receipt of the vaccine have not yet been concluded.
It is important to note that none of the above mentioned vaccines have arrived into the country. Currently, the National Drug Authority (NDA) has only registered the AstraZeneca vaccine for use in Uganda.
NDA is still in the process of registering the other vaccines. Therefore, His Excellency, the president or his team could not have been vaccinated with vaccines that have not arrived into the country and duly cleared by NDA.
The government of Uganda will provide a clear and comprehensive vaccination implementation plan to the country and this will be officially communicated by the minister of Health.
As per the requirements of the Public Health Act, the ministry of Health will issue a statutory instrument to guide vaccination against COVID-19.
I would like to appreciate the media, both locally and internationally and the general public who have continued to support the COVID-19 response which has enabled us prevent further spread of the virus.
However, I want to appeal to the Fourth estate to always verify information from the respective authorities to avoid derailing the population from the gains we have achieved thus far.