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We Have Capacity to Store Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine- NMS Boss

The Pfizer / BioNtech vaccine is so far among the top vaccines for COVID-19 in terms of effectiveness in clinical trials offering 95 per cent prevention of the viral respiratory disease for those who get the two shots as recommended.
Uganda has the capacity to store and distribute the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

The Pfizer / BioNtech vaccine is so far among the top vaccines for COVID-19 in terms of effectiveness in clinical trials offering 95 per cent prevention of the viral respiratory disease for those who get the two shots as recommended.

But, even with this effectiveness, a lot of countries have opted for other vaccine candidates like AstraZeneca which has only shown efficacy of less than 80 per cent because they can’t meet the drug’s storage requirements.

While other vaccines require normal refrigeration, Pfizer requires an ultra-cold freezer at temperatures between – 80 degrees and 60 degrees Centigrade which is untenable by especially low and middle-income countries.  

Moses Kamabare, the National Medical Stores (NMS) General Manager sats that  told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that although the cabinet had resolved that the country will not have Pfizer vaccine, this decision has nothing to do with the store’s capacity to guarantee the drug’s safety. 

He said that NMS had already been storing the Ebola vaccine which requires almost similar conditions of – 85 degrees Centigrade to stay intact and added that this cold chain space is set to double when the entity opens its new stores at Kajjansi on the outskirts of Kampala in June.

He says that the new facility’s cold chain capacity has a net storage volume of 2,500m3 and that it will be a modern drive-in cold room which no need to unstock before entering the store. However, the USD 7.6 million vaccines store is supposed to be up and running as was initially scheduled to be complete by end of 2019 but a new complete date has since been made.

Dr Diana Atwiine, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health blames the delay on COVID-19 lockdown interruptions and that the facility will be up and running by end of June.  

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