Uganda has received a consignment of more than 1.6 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine thanks to a donation by the United States government.
This is the second consignment of COVID-19 vaccines that the Biden administration has sent to Uganda. The first, which arrived on September 6, comprised 647,080 doses of Moderna, bringing to the total donation from the United States to 2,321,350 COVID-19 vaccine doses.
The Ugandan government had earlier announced that the Pfizer vaccine will be used to inoculate school-going children as one of the measures to prepare them for the reopening of schools. The educational institutions have been largely closed since last year, as the country battled the disease that spread across the world like wildfire.
Earlier research showed that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 100 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 in children ages 12 through 15 and 91 per cent effective in preventing severe illness in people aged 16 and older. However, today, Pfizer announced that their COVID-19 vaccine is safe for children aged between five and eleven.
The company and their German partner BioNTech say that they gave children aged five to 11 years, a two-dose regimen of 10 μg (micrograms) which were administered 21 days apart. The dosage was selected as the preferred dose for safety and effectiveness in children. Early research suggested that the vaccine is 96 per cent effective at preventing severe disease with COVID-19 caused by the delta variant, the most common COVID-19 variant in the world.
“We share these vaccines to save lives as part of America’s leadership in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic to an end,” said U.S. Ambassador Natalie E. Brown. “To save lives and stop the threat of new variants, we must vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.”
This tranche of 1,674,270 vaccines is part of the 500 million Pfizer doses the United States provided to deliver to 92 countries worldwide, including Uganda, to fulfil President Joe Biden’s commitment to provide safe and effective vaccines around the world and supercharge the global fight against the pandemic.
Since the pandemic began, the United States has provided approximately USD 111 million (nearly 400 billion Shillings) to Uganda in direct assistance specifically to respond to COVID-19. In support of Uganda’s national vaccine rollout, the United States has provided technical and financial support in data management, risk communication, health worker training, strengthening the supply chain and increasing cold storage capacity enabling vaccine uptake across Uganda.
“Please educate yourself and your loved ones about the importance of COVID-19 vaccines and the protection they provide,” Ambassador Brown said. “Making an educated decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine is a critical step toward protecting your health and that of your family and community because as we know, none of us is safe until we are all safe.”
The United States is donating vaccines to the world and is the leading financial donor to COVAX. The U.S. government contributed USD 2 billion to Gavi in March, which supported procurement and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX. In July, the U.S. provided an additional $2 billion to Gavi that will help fill the gap in COVAX’s vaccine supply.