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Monday, August 8, 2022

‘Expired’ Covid19 Vaccines: Uganda’s Immunization Boss Breaks Silence

Uganda National Expanded Program on Immunization (Unepi) Program Manager Dr Alfred Driwale has assured Ugandans no vaccines will expire as had been reported.

Last week, president Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni delivered his Covid19 address, further easing lockdown restrictions.

But the president was concerned about the expiry of Covid19 vaccines.

He vowed to fire all Resident District Commissioners (RDCs), Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) and District Health Officers (DHOs) in whose districts vaccine doses expired.

At least 67,000 vaccine doses were expected to expire at the close of September 2021.

However, Unepi boss Driwale says none of the vaccine doses will expire.

“it is absolutely not true that there are vaccines that have expired,” Driwale told NBS TV on September 27. “We are under pressure that no vaccines expire.”

He added: “By [Monday morning], the doses that were about to expire are very few. The situation is not as it appeared next week. No vaccines are going to expire.”

He further explained that new vaccines are made with a very short shelf life, but Uganda had doses that will last months before expiry.

On vaccine scarcity and Uganda’s overreliance on donated doses, Driwale said: “We have paid for vaccines, and they are going to come. With the donations we are getting, we are going to vaccinate four million people to ensure we open up.”

On Monday, the health ministry started a one-week accelerated Covid19 vaccination campaign in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono.

The ministry said the vaccination campaign will be carried out using AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines and later Sinovac.

All persons starting the vaccination will receive Pfizer vaccine as their first dose and their second dose of Pfizer after one month (four weeks) while all persons who started with AstraZeneca and are due for their second dose will be given AstraZeneca in a number of designated vaccination points.

“The Ministry of Health does NOT advise the public to mix vaccines nor receive a booster dose. Since there is limited information on the effects of MIXING vaccine types, every client MUST receive the same type of vaccine as both their first and second dose,” advised the ministry.

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