13.4 MILLION DOSES OF COVID-19 VACCINES RISK EXPIRY OVER NON VACCINATED.
By UTN Reporter
The ministry of health has revealed that Uganda likely to loose 13.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines if the population does not get vaccinated.
The revelation was made by the permanent secretary ministry of health Diana Atwine while appearing before parliament's accounts committee to respond to the auditor general’s queries for the last financial year on covid-19 funds.
The auditor general’s report noted that even though the ministry of health had procured Covid-19 vaccines through UNICEF, these had not been received in the country by 30th June 2021.
The auditor general noted that at the time the country mainly relied on donated vaccines yet the ministry of health had transferred 121.6 billion shillings to UNICEF.
Atwine informed the committee that they had decided to procure vaccines through UNICEF thinking it would be easier but says that this did not materialize.
“Atwine noted that the country later received the vaccines but this happened when the risk perception was down and says that there is fear that the vaccines might expire before they are used yet the country spent money on them.” Dr Atwine Dianah PS Ministry of Health
The chairperson of the committee Medard Segoona Tasked the ministry to explain the strategies they are taking to ensure that people are notified of the availability of vaccines so that they get vaccinated.
Atwine informed the committee they have been talking to the leaders and the vaccines have been sent nearly to the districts but the population has not been responding positively.
Bugiri Municipality Legislator Asuman Basalirwa wondered why the ministry was not using the recently passed public health amendment bill that called for mandatory vaccination but Atwine informed mps that COVID-19 vaccines do not apply under the law because they were allowed to be used on provisional licences because of the emergency of the situation.
The chairperson Medard Segoona noted that if the vaccines were mainly targeting people who were supposed to take booster doses, why permanent secretary had not taken one ,but Atwine informed the mps she had already taken the booster doses twice but Segoona faulted them for not doing this publically .
Basalirwa wondered why the ministry was not donating these vaccines to other countries instead of waiting for them to expire but Atwine informed him that all African countries were facing the same dilemma.
Bukuya county Legislator Micheal Bukenya tasked the ministry to quantify the numbers of the vaccines available and their value.
The coordinator of the immunization program at the ministry Jimmy Ameny informed the committee that currently the country has 13.4 million doses of the vaccines at stores of National medical stores .
He says that 11.9 million are for Johnson Johnson,and they have a shelf life of up to march 2024, 7,000 doses of Pfizer whose shelf life is up to January 2024, 1.2 million doses of sinopharm whose shelf life is September 2023 and 148,000 doses whose shelf is August 2023.
He whoever failed to account for the monetary value of the vaccines which prompted the committee chairepsreson to ask they avail to the committee come Tuesday.