Uganda Looking at J&J, Sinopharm Vaccines to Fill AstraZeneca Shortfalls

According to Aceng, the government has ordered 5 million vaccines from the African Union so far. The delivery dates are yet to be communicated. The need for other vaccines come following a shortage fo AstraZeneca vaccines

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Uganda is considering using the single dose Johnson& Johnson and Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines to address the existing global AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine shortage that will affect vaccine stocks in the country.

According to officials from the Vaccine Advisory Committee, the vaccines are the next best option for the country since they can be stored under normal freezing temperatures like the AstraZeneca vaccine. The J&J and Sinopharm vaccine need to be stored at 20 degrees Celsius.

Prof Livingstone Sserwadda, the chairman of VAC says the other options will help government provide vaccines following the ban on export of vaccines from India.

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The outgoing minister of health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng says the government has ordered 5 million doses of the vaccine through the African Union.

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Earlier in the year, the government had ordered for 18 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine directly from the Serum Institute of India. They had also ordered for an additional 18 million doses of AstraZeneca from the COVAX facility.

Dr Yonas Woldermariam, the World Health Organisation Country Representative says COVAX is expanding its vaccine portfolio to enable continuous vaccine supplies despite the ban in India which has left the facility with a 190 million vaccine shortfall.

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In addition to looking for other vaccines that can be used, studies are also ongoing to see what effect using two vaccines might have.According to a study carried out in the U.S and UK, using one jab of AstraZeneca and Pfizer was effective. It had the same effect as getting two jabs of one vaccine type. 

Aceng says such findings are exciting especially now that there are shortages of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

"We had good news that someone can now get one shot of AstraZeneca and then Pfizer," DR Aceng said. "This is exciting and while studies are ongoing on how other vaccines can be matched, we shall closely follow the process."