Uganda is expecting to receive its first batch of Covid-19 vaccines by April or May, The Kampala Post has learned.
An official statement obtained by the website shows that the East African nation spent US$ 164 million to acquire doses for 9 million people.
The first doses will go to persons at the highest risk of severe disease and deaths like older persons of 50 years plus (3, 348, 500) and persons with underlying health conditions.
Cabinet ministers also agreed that frontline health (63,284 government only) and social workers, including security services, be prioritized for vaccination since they are crucial in the fight against Covid-19.
The government is also discussing the role of the Private Sector in availing vaccines especially for travelers and people who may not fit in the prioritization list but are able to buy their vaccine. Currently, five vaccines are in use under emergency use listing pending WHO approval.
These include Moderna, Pfizer (USA), AstraZeneca (UK), Sputnik (Russia), and Sinovac (China) vaccines. Uganda bought its vaccine from AstraZeneca.
There are 10 additional vaccines in the phase 3 clinical trial (pre-deployment phase) and 76 others are at different stages of trial in humans.
Officials say the government is planning to set up three Regional Emergency Operations Centers in Bunyoro, Rwenzori, and Northern Regions to decentralize and streamline the response in the constituent districts in addition to the National Level emergency operations centers.
On the treatment side, scientific evidence is pointing to the effectiveness of Ivermectin in prophylaxis and reduction of morbidity among the severely ill Covid-19 patients in addition to Hydroxychloroquine, recommended for mild and moderate illness.
The health ministry has approved four more laboratories to test COVID -19.
In a phase-based approach, Uganda will also roll out the use of Rapid Diagnostic Tests in 30 districts covering 105 health facilities. These Districts are Wakiso, Gulu, Pader, Arua, Adjumani, Obongi, Moyo, Kitgum, Lamwo, Hoima, Kiryandongo, Masaka, Kyotera, Buikwe, Jinja, Soroti, Lira, Manafwa, Namisindwa, Tororo, Busia, Mbale Kapchorwa, Mbarara, Kabale, Kasese, Kabarole, Moroto, Mubende and Luweero.