Ugandan government to roll out Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines

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FILE PHOTO: A healthcare professional is vaccinated against COVID-19 on March 10, 2021 in Kampala, Uganda, March 10, 2021. (Photo by Luke Dray / Getty Images)
A healthcare professional is vaccinated against COVID-19 in Kampala, Uganda, March 10, 2021. / Getty Images)

Ugandan Government is expected as from today to avail two types of vaccines, Pfizer and AstraZeneca, to Ugandans amid debate among scientists that the latter offers more sustained protection against COVID-19.

Dr Misaki Wayengera, the head of scientists advising the government on COVID-19, in a letter to the Uganda Daily Monitor yesterday, said cases of infection among those vaccinated with Astrazeneca are less than those who received the Pfizer shot.

Both Pfizer and AstraZeneca are double-shot vaccines and at the initial approval by separate bodies, Pfizer had an efficacy of 95 percent, which was higher than AstraZeneca’s 67 percent in preventing COVID-19.

A study on the effectiveness of the two vaccines, which was published in the scientific journal Nature last month, 90 days after the jab, says protection from Pfizer drops 17 percent while that from AstraZeneca drops by 8 percent.

“The vaccine’s [Pfizer] effectiveness fell to 90 percent, 85 percent, and 78 percent after 30, 60, and 90 days, respectively. The vaccine developed by Oxford and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca in Cambridge, UK, was 69 percent effective against a high viral load 14 days after the second dose, falling to 61 percent by 90 days,” the report reads in part.

A previous study in the UK also indicated that mixing AstraZeneca with Pfizer produces better protection. However, Dr Alfred Driwale, the head of the immunization program, in an interview last Monday said there would be no mixing of vaccines in Uganda.

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