Uganda on Friday received the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX facility.
Ruth Aceng, the minister of Health, and Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Uganda, received the initial batch of 864,000 doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines from COVAX vaccine sharing program.
The vaccines, part of the 3.5 million doses from COVAX to Uganda, were delivered by plane at Entebbe International Airport, which is about 40 kilometers south of the capital, Kampala.
Uganda will launch the phased vaccination against the novel coronavirus in the country on March 8.
“I am extremely delighted today as we receive the first consignment of COVID-19 vaccines. The doses will be used to vaccinate persons providing essential services and are high risk of exposure in line of duty,” said Aceng. “This is just the beginning of our journey to vaccinate an estimated 22 million against COVID-19. We shall continue to encourage every Ugandan to patiently wait for their turn to receive this vaccine.”
Uganda requires at least 45 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate the 45 million population in the country and extra doses to cater for the refugee population, according to the Ministry of Health.
China donated some 300,000 doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines to Uganda and the ministry is working on technical processes for receiving it.
Uganda has registered 40,452 cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 15,065 recoveries and 334 deaths since the index case was reported on March 22, 2020, according to the Ministry of Health.