Dr Atwine: Developing Countries to Procure COVID-19 Vaccine at Same Cost

The Health Ministry has defended its $405m budget for the COVID-19 vaccine programme as a “working estimate”, saying the final figure will be determined by a response from the COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX facility).

“The cost of USD 405 Million is a working estimate of the National Deployment Vaccination Plan (NDVP) to roll out the COVID-19 Vaccine,” said Health Ministry Permanent Secretary, Diana Atwine this Thursday.

“The Ministry would like to reiterate that this a working estimate as we await final communication from the COVAX facility,” she added.

This comes against the backdrop of criticism by sections of the media that the budget for the COVID-19 vaccination campaign was higher compared to other countries in the region.

Atwine said Uganda, like other Low and Middle Income Countries will access the COVID-19 vaccine through the COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX facility).

This facility is negotiating the price of the vaccine on behalf of almost 90 LMICs, including Uganda.

“No single country under COVAX has negotiated the price of the vaccine with the manufacturer directly,” said Atwine, adding, “All countries will procure the vaccine at the same price as agreed between the COVAX facility and the manufacturers.”

COVAX, the global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, regardless of income level, recently announced that it had arrangements in place to access nearly two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, on behalf of 190 participating economies.

For the vast majority of these deals, COVAX has guaranteed access to a portion of the first wave of production, followed by volume scales as further supply becomes available. The arrangements are expected to enable all participating economies to have access to doses in the first half of 2021, with first deliveries anticipated to begin in the first quarter of 2021 – contingent upon regulatory approvals and countries’ readiness for delivery.

Atwine said each manufacturer of the approved COVID-19 vaccines has a different cost.

“Please disregard speculative information on the vaccine cost currently making rounds on social media. The Ministry of Health will communicate accordingly.

The Ministry of Health urges the public to desist from spreading misleading information and creating unnecessary and unwarranted speculations most especially regarding the health of the population. Always seek to verify information from the authorities,” she said.

Results of COVID-19 tests done on 05 January 2021 confirmed 295 new cases and four deaths.

The cumulative confirmed cases are 36,702 while the total COVID-19 deaths are 294.

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