KAMPALA – Uganda has on Wednesday commissioned her first-ever Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing company.
The Vaccine Access Initiative (VAI) in Ntinda, Kampala, was launched by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja in the company of Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng and her PS Dr. Diana Atwine.
Besides the Covid-19 vaccination program, VAI will be making other vaccines like polio, according to Dr. Cedrick Akwesigye, the company’s Managing Director.
According to him, the facility which has fully been inspected by Pfizer and AstraZeneca teams has the capacity to vaccinate 4,000 people daily at a rate of 10 minutes per person.
Dr. Akwesigye revealed that they are at the 70% approval stage by the government of Uganda.
Officiating at the event, Nabbanja, commended the team for being innovative but warned them against cheating Ugandans by overcharging them.
She committed Government’s support to all private sector players aiming at implementing government programs.
“The VAI symbolizes the strength in public-private partnerships. This is what the President has been talking about; using all the efforts available to ensure every Ugandan gets Covid-19 vaccination to avoid any possible insurgency of infections. Involvement of private partners in the immunization program is a very big milestone.”
According to her, the service will ease it for most people especially the corporates who hate long queues in government immunization centers.
“Private sector enjoys more benefits compared to Government entities like less bureaucracy, fast and quicker decision making. The first client here got the care for the king as she was being attended to.”
Dr Aceng, revealed that since 2011, Government has been working with private partners to promote immunization and this has yielded better results.
“In the meeting, we agreed that immunization exercise at VAI will be free but the client will only be required to contribute 20,000 shillings to support the facility in payment of utility bills as well as facilitation for their staff.”
Dr. Atwine, urged all capable individuals to venture into private sector and support Government efforts in addressing health-related challenges.
“We can’t assure you that when you start manufacturing we shall be buying 100 percent of your products due to budgetary limits, but through the BUBU policy, we shall be supporting you,” Atwine said.
Dr. Akwesigye said, “This structure was put up in nine months, it was accredited by Pfizer after sending in a team to verify its standards. As we speak, we have over two million doses of Pfizer in here but for storage. The system of vaccination will go through the normal distribution channel and those given to us are the ones we shall use.”