The Ministry of Health has denied media reports that the President and some members of his ‘inner circle’ received the COVID-19 vaccine.
The information was revealed in a story carried by one of the dailies titled Museveni ‘inner circle’ got Covid jabs- US Paper.’ The vaccines were allegedly offered by China state-owned drug maker Sinopharm.
While addressing the media on Tuesday evening, Jane Ruth Aceng the health Minister trashed the article as a rumor, clarifying that neither the President nor any of his ‘inner circle’ have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as alleged.
“Both media houses are spreading false and unfounded information with a potential of misleading the population and defaming the name of the President” she said.
The minister further noted that in December 2020, the Government of Uganda, upon request from the Chinese Embassy in Uganda, authorized the importation of 4,000 doses of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine for Liao Shen Industrial Park in Kapeeka, Nakaseke district through Sino Africa Medicines and Health Ltd strictly for exclusive use by the said Chinese nationals in the park.
“The Ministry would like to reiterate that these vaccines have not been used for any Ugandan other than the target population (the Chinese nationals living in Kapeeka)” she said.
According to Aceng, Uganda will access COVID-19 vaccines as follows; AstraZeneca vaccines from Serum Institute of India: Of the 18 million doses ordered for, 400,000 doses will be initially provided for by Mid-March 2021. The rest will be provided in phases.
Donations under the COVAX facility; The COVAX facility has communicated a tentative allocation of 3,552,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Uganda. Of the above allocation, 864,000 doses will be shipped into the country by mid-March 2021 while the rest will be provided on a quarterly basis in the course of 2021.
A donation of 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the Government of India. The Ministry is concluding on the requirements for shipping. The arrival date of these vaccines will be communicated in due course.
And a donation of 300,000 doses of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine from The People’s Republic of China has been communicated to the Government of Uganda. However, modalities of receipt of the vaccine have not yet been concluded.
Aceng added that it is important to note that none of the above mentioned vaccines have arrived into the country and that currently, the National Drug Authority (NDA) has only registered the AstraZeneca vaccine for use in Uganda. NDA is still in the process of registering the other vaccines.
“Therefore, His Excellency, the President or his team could not have been vaccinated with vaccines that have not arrived into the country and duly cleared by NDA. The Government of Uganda will provide a clear and comprehensive vaccination implementation plan to the country and this will be officially communicated by the Minister of Health” Aceng explained.
She added that as per the requirements of the Public Health Act, the Ministry of Health will issue a statutory instrument to guide vaccination against COVID-19.
She appealed to the media both local and international to always verify information from the respective authorities to avoid derailing the population from the gains we have achieved thus far.