Uganda to apply for Covid-19 vaccine

From (The Observer). Uganda will on December 7, 2020, submit a COVID-19 vaccine application request to the COVAX facility, only days after BioTech and co-developers Pfizer announced that preliminary analysis showed their vaccine could prevent more than 90% of people from getting Covid-19.

Uganda to apply for Covid-19 vaccine

Alfred Driwale, manager of the Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunization (UNEPI) at the ministry of Health, confirmed Uganda will write her application to COVAX Facility, a global risk-sharing mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of eventual COVID-19 vaccines.

Coordinated by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innova- tions (CEPI) and the World Health Organization (WHO), COVAX Facil- ity, has an initial goal of making at least two billion doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available by the end of 2021.

Countries supported through GAVI to access vaccines like Uganda qualify to apply through COVAX for the COVID-19 vaccine that will ensure equitable access, Dr. Driwale said. Uganda is also working on the legal framework to belong to COVAX, which requires more technical people especially from the judiciary.

Nearly every person on the planet will need the COVID-19 vaccine to insulate him or herself from the virus. The vaccine will prevent illness or death and keep populations from lockdowns and movement restrictions. It will be the currency of life and death - the rich will afford to buy the vaccines but the poor might not.

So far, the UK is expected to get 10 million doses of the BioTech/Pfizer vaccine by the end of the year (2020), with a further 30 million doses already ordered. The jab, which was trialled in six countries, is given in two doses, three weeks apart. COVAX comes into play to help poor countries that miss out on the vaccine.

COVAX offers a global solution and ef- fort to ensure rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines once they are available for people in all corners of the world, regardless of their wealth. According to the WHO, COVAX has already engaged 186 countries world- wide – including 47 countries in the African region.

When vaccines are li- censed and approved, COVAX will work to secure enough doses to provide pro- tection to an initial 20 per cent of the African population. Priority populations to get the vaccine in most countries include high-risk in- dividuals, like health care workers and vulnerable people.

Dr Francis Kiweewa, a physician working on COVID-19 in northern Uganda, said his priority wish list for the Covid-19 vaccine in Uganda would be first - to all frontline work- ers - health workers, security forces and then to the elderly who are 60+ years and those with diabetes and other comorbidities. In terms of gender, he would give men the vaccine first.

“Men are more susceptible to COVID- 19 and they are dying most from the virus but we don’t know why and peo- ple with diabetes are very vulnerable,” he said.

Tabley Bakyavita, the assistant commissioner, Health Education and Promotion in the ministry of Health, said they are working on a risk communication plan. ”We are working on demand generation and promotion. Trying to mobilize those who will be targeted when the vaccine comes,” Bakyayita said.