Uganda was on Friday afternoon recipient to 864000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in the first batch from the global COVAX initiative created to ensure that low- and middle-income countries have fair access to the vaccines.
The vaccines that arrived aboard a Fly Emirates aircraft were the first batch of the 3.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that was allocated to Uganda by the COVAX facility to be delivered between now and June 2021.
The first phase of the free vaccines will target health workers in public and private hospitals who are at a higher risk of contracting the virus plus security personnel, teachers, humanitarian workers and people above the age of 50.
“The Ministry of Health is finalizing preparations to start vaccination against COVID-19 and with the arrival of the initial batch of AstraZeneca vaccine today, vaccination is set to begin on March,10,2021,” Health Minister, Dr.Jane Ruth Aceng said.
The World Health Organisation representative in Uganda, Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldermariam said the move to first vaccinate health workers and teachers is aimed at protecting them since they come into contact with many people which increases their risk of contracting the virus.
The head of the EU delegation in Uganda, Attilio Pacifici noted that the arrival of the vaccines is a significant moment and a concrete example of global solidarity in action.
“Ever since the outbreak of this unprecedented crisis which is affecting all of us, the European Union and its member states have supported Uganda and our other African partners in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
According to the UNICEF representative in Uganda, Dr.Munir Safieldin, the arrival of the first batch of vaccines marks an important milestone for Uganda.
Uganda has 40426 confirmed cases of Coronavirus including 15052 recoveries and 334 deaths.