Uganda has received a donation of 647,080 Moderna Covid-19 vaccine doses from the US government. This is the eighth batch of vaccines received in Uganda since March this year - all donated. To date, Uganda has received 2,153,140 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, 300,000 doses of Sinovac and 647,080 Moderna doses.
Dr Munir Safieldin, the UNICEF country representative said the vaccines were donated through the COVAX Facility in the true spirit of sharing, reiterating that "No one is safe until everyone is safe."
The vaccines were received at Entebbe airport on Monday evening by Health minister Jane Ruth Aceng and US Ambassador Natalie E. Brown.
Although the Moderna vaccines unlike the AstraZeneca require cold storage facilities, and this particular batch is set to expire in December this year, Aceng allayed any fears when she said that Uganda has built sufficient cold storage capacity over the years with net freezer capacity of -15°C which can store up to 12,000 litres at the National Medical Stores and 92,881 litres across the country.
She said the Moderna vaccines will be administered to priority groups including teachers, security personnel and health worker who have never received any Covid-19 vaccines jabs before.
"The 647,080 doses of vaccine has been split into 2 phases - 323,540 to reserve some for the second doses that will be administered to the priority groups. Moderna is administered in two doses, 4 weeks apart. It should be noted that Moderna vaccines cannot be mixed with any other Covid-19 vaccine currently being rolled out in the country. This is consistent with the guidance given from the vaccine advisory committee whereby Uganda has not received recommendation for any mix and match of the vaccine," said Aceng.
"The vaccine delivery is part of the US' commitment to ending the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible. These US donated COVID-19 vaccines will save Ugandan lives," Brown noted.
She cautioned the public against believing in unverified information about the different vaccines. "Making an educated decision to take the vaccine will ensure that we are all safe."
"The top scientists and scientists around the world have determined these Covid-19 vaccines to be very safe for eligible groups of people and thus far 5.4 billion doses including 146 million doses of modern vaccine have been given around the world...Do not let misinformation guide your decision to choose the risk of illness, death or protection. Where you get the right information matters because information is driving a significant amount of fear and hesitation globally. Get information from reliable sources like ministry of Health, Centres for Disease Control or the World Health Organisation websites. Journalists, make sure you're reporting accurately about Covid and Covid-19 vaccines." said Brown.
According to Aceng, so far 1.4 million people have been vaccinated and of these, 431,655 have received their second dose. Asked about the need for booster shots of the Moderna vaccines, Aceng said for now the priority is first vaccinating the 300,000 people and the country "shall cross the bridge" but there are no plans for Uganda to buy Moderna vaccines yet.
She said, at the moment the country is focused on vaccinating everyone above 18 years with another 27 million vaccine doses including Johnson and Johnson, through COVAX Facility and the African Union starting to come into the country starting end of this month. The US is set to donate an additional 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Uganda in about 2 weeks' time.