By Spy Uganda
Uganda plans to import reagents of Covid-19 vaccines to start its own production to step up inoculation constrained by limited supply.
Imports of chemicals would fast-track vaccine production in the East African country, President Yoweri Museveni said in a televised speech late Saturday.
Uganda has administered only 1.17 million jabs out of the 21 million targeted before the country can fully remove restrictions imposed to contain the virus, according to the Ministry of Health.
“My appeal to partners abroad is to sell us reagents, some of the chemicals to use,” the Ugandan President said. “Because of speed for the first production we would want to buy from people who have established lines abroad.”
Lawmaker Emmanuel Otiam Otaala — a medical doctor, former minister of state for health, and a member of parliament’s Covid-19 committee — said the proposal was feasible.
Africa’s biggest coffee exporter, which has a population of about 42.7 million people has so far received donations of about 1.73 million doses, mainly through the World Health Organization’s Covax facility. More than 80% of the doses were produced by AstraZeneca Plc, and the remainder by Sinovac Biotech Ltd.
Uganda’s total number of coronavirus infections has doubled since end-May to about 96,700, driven by the spread of the delta variant, according to the Ministry of Health.