Uganda awaits price of COVID-19 vaccine as cases surge

KAMPALA, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Uganda's ministry of health on Thursday said it is still waiting for the price of the COVID-19 vaccines as negotiations between the COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX facility) and the manufacturers continue.

A customer has her body temperature taken before entering stalls in a shopping arcade in Kampala, capital of Uganda, July 16, 2020. (File Photo: Xinhua)

The ministry in a statement issued here said the country, like other 90 low and medium income countries, will access the vaccines through the COVAX facility, which is negotiating on their behalf.

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

"It is important to note that each manufacturer of the approved COVID-19 vaccines has a different cost," the ministry added.

The ministry noted that it has a working estate of 405 million U.S. dollars that would be used by the National Deployment Vaccination Plan to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine.

The ministry on Jan. 3 said the country urgently needs to access the vaccines not only as a mitigating strategy against severe disease and deaths, but also as a public measure to enable a safe return to normalcy.

The ministry warned that COVID-19 cases were surging, noting that the number increased by 88 percent (22,000 cases) in the last three months.

As of Jan. 5, the country had a cumulative figure of 36,702 COVID-19 cases, 12,494 recoveries and 294 deaths since the index case was registered on March 21, 2020, according to the ministry of health figures.