67,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses set to expire in Uganda

COVID-19 vaccine outreach support from Bloomberg Philanthropies
A file photo taken on February 12, 2021 shows a vial containing the Covid-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca and a syringe displayed on a table in the pharmacy of the vaccination center (Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP)

Kampala, Uganda | URN | 67,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses in Uganda are set to expire at the end of the month (September 30th, 2021).

The vaccines were part of the batch of 128,560 doses that were donated by Norway. According to records from the health ministry, 12,000 doses are in Kampala and 8,000 in Arua.

With just 7 days left to the end of the month, Abiaz Rwamwiri, the National Drug Authority (NDA) Principle Public Relations officer says the vaccines are still good for use.

“A vaccine expected to expire this month does not mean it’s bad. That vaccine can be used until the last day of the month. In this case, it is September 30. COVID-19 vaccines normally have a six months shelf life, but by the time they arrive here from the countries, some time had passed. But this does not mean we are giving people expired vaccines. NDA makes sure that people are getting good vaccines, “he said.

The government has been carrying out vaccination of teachers, health workers, people with co-morbidities, security personnel and other persons.

However, despite the pending expiry of vaccines within Kampala, many vaccination sites in the city centre are not carrying out vaccination.

President Yoweri Museveni full address on COVID-19 situation in the country

Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Ministry of Health spokesperson earlier on said that there were very few vaccines left in Kampala.

Between now and December, Uganda is expected to receive more than 9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. 3.3 million of these have been procured by the government while the rest are donations.

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With such a big number of vaccines expected, there is fear of wastage and expiry of vaccines.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), on average, 5 per cent of vaccines are wasted during national campaigns.

Addressing the country on Wednesday 22nd, September 2021, President Museveni directed all District Resident Commissioners (DRCs), District Health Officers (DHOs) and Chief Administrative Officers to carry out thorough mass mobilisation for COVID-19 vaccination for the priority groups.

“I now direct with immediate effect that all RDCs, CAOs and DHOs must carry out intensive mobilization for all eligible priority groups to go for vaccination. They should in addition, ensure that no vaccines are wasted or left to expire. In any district where vaccines expire, the RDC, CAO and DHO will be dismissed,” President Museveni said.