The Director General of Health Services at Uganda’s Health Ministry, Dr Henry Mwebesa, has explained government’s decision to allow the importation of 4,000 for Liao Shen Industrial Park in Kapeeka.
On December 08, The Pearl Times reported that President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni, his health minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, his senior advisor on medical affairs Dr Joseph Okia and the National Drug Authority (NDA) secretary Dr David Nahamya had all okayed the urgent’ importation of 4,000 doses of SARS-Cov-2 Inactivated Vaccine (VeroCell).
Sinoafrica Medicines and Health Ltd was designated to procure the vaccine from China National Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd (Sinopharm) or from Sinovac Research and Development Co Ltd, the vaccine manufacturers, and import to Uganda, for Lao Shen Industrial Park and its operators of strictly Chinese origin, according to a letter Aceng wrote to the Chinese Health Commission.
According to Dr Mwebesa, revelation of permission to import the vital vaccine doses ‘strictly for Chinese’ has left “some people asking why not import the same for Ugandans?”
But he has explained that “the Chinese Covid19 vaccine is still under research.”
Dr Mwebesa insisted Uganda would not administer to its citizens a vaccine that is “not approved for use by World Health Organisation (WHO).”
“We are not sure of its potency or safety hence Government cannot import it for use by Ugandans.”
The director general further revealed that “the Chinese in Kapeeka want to import the vaccine for use by Chinese nationals only since they are already using it in their home country.
Aware of these issues with the Chinese vaccine, Museveni took the advice of health ministry officials to wait until the WHO has approved the vaccine.
But as Dr Okia informed Dr Nahamya on November 26, “H.E The President supports the idea” of the Chinese nationals getting the unapproved vaccine if they so wish.