Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /usr/www/users/urnnet/a/story.php on line 43 Experts Warn of Organized Crime As Private Pharmacies Push to Import COVID-19 Vaccines :: Uganda Radionetwork
So far, government is planning the initial about 20million doses to be utilized by teachers, security operatives, and health workers in addition to those that live with health conditions that predispose them to severe COVID-19 disease but an official in the Ministry who spoke to URN on condition of anonymity said they are on a daily basis receiving dozens of brokers luring them into buying cheaper vaccines that have not necessarily been approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Health experts have asked the Ministry of Health to be keen on who
they accredit from the private sector to be importers of the covid-19 vaccine.
This comes amidst piling pressure on the Ministry by the private sector to be
allowed to avail doses for those that don’t qualify for the anticipated government
doses but can afford to pay.
So far, the government is planning the initial about 20 million doses to be
utilized by teachers, security operatives, and health workers in addition to
those that live with health conditions that predispose them to severe COVID-19
However, an official in the Ministry who spoke on condition of
anonymity said they are daily receiving dozens of brokers luring them into
buying cheaper vaccines that have not necessarily been approved for emergency
use by the World Health Organization (WHO).
It’s owing to this that Prof. Freddie Ssengooba, a Public Health Policy expert
based at Makerere University School of Public Health says Uganda is
specifically vulnerable as there are no clear regulatory processes that
importers have to follow to the dot.
He says that the government needs to quickly strengthen the
regulatory bodies to be able to root out fake vaccines.
Ssengooba, says there are red flags that some private providers are selling
vaccines, though he couldn’t confirm exactly what kinds of vaccines are on the
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He adds that International Police has already released a report warning of
organized crime threat to COVID-19 vaccines.
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However, the Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng at a press
conference on Thursday said they are guarded and have set up a committee to
review the viability of including the private sector in vaccine access. She said
they are yet to hear from the committee for a way forward.
Meanwhile, URN has learnt that several pharmaceutical brokerage companies have
submitted their documents for review with some expressing interest in bringing
in Russia’s Sputnik vaccine whose efficacy and quick approval process to be
publicly used have sparked debate among scientists globally.
Aceng confirmed that they have had discussions with the Ambassador
of Russia to Uganda on the possibility of procuring the Russian Vaccine early
But, Makerere University-based Virologist Dr Misaki Wayengera says
it would be risky for the country to go for the Russian drug since there’s
still limited information about it.
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