KAMPALA, June 18 (Xinhua) -- Uganda on Friday began the distribution of the third batch of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccines it received from the global COVAX facility to address the nationwide stockouts, a health spokesperson said.
Sheila Nduhukire, spokesperson for the National Medical Stores, Uganda's central distribution hub for all public health facilities, told Xinhua by telephone that vaccines are being dispatched, with the main focus on the most hit COVID-19 districts across the country.
The country on Wednesday received 175,200 new COVID-19 vaccines with support from United Nations Children's Fund and French Embassy under the World Health Organization (WHO) COVAX initiative.
"Yes distribution is starting today. Focus is on the virus epicenter districts of Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono, Lira and Mbale," said Nduhukire.
Uganda had run out of vaccines for its vaccination campaign targeting priority groups, with several hospitals and vaccination centers across the country reporting stockouts.
Uganda received 864,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine via the COVAX facility and 100,000 doses from the Indian government in March.
At least 688,000 more doses are expected from the COVAX facility in early August and 300,000 doses of China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines next month, according to the ministry of health.
The government continues to grapple with the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths since the second wave of the pandemic.
As of Thursday, a total of 812,118 people had been vaccinated against COVID-19 in the east African country, according to the ministry of health.
The country requires at least 45 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to get its population vaccinated and extra doses to cater for the refugee population in the country, according to the government statistics.