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
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
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
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.