The Ministry of Health has resolved to destroy a consignment of 150,000 doses of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine after resolving for being unfit for use because of irregularities in importation and storage.
The vaccine was a donation to Uganda by the Mauritius government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in March this year.
The decision follows followed an April 13 letter from the National Drug Authority (NDA) chairperson, Dr Medard Bitekyerezo, to the Health minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, stating that they inspected the consignment and found it unfit for use because of irregularities in importation and storage.
Destroying the vaccines, which are sold at a price of $30 (Shs113, 000) per dose, means the country will destroy jabs worth Shs17b.
Dr Bitekyerezo further explained in the letter that the consignment of the Sinopharm vaccine, which arrived on March 1, without their knowledge, aboard a Kenya Airways plane, lacked temperature data loggers.
The temperature data is essential to track the adherence to storage temperature standards, which is an important component for ensuring the vaccine potency is maintained.
According to the Health Minister Acengs letter, the inspectors were unable to ascertain the integrity of the cold chain system during storage over the last month.
The certificate of analysis and independent Lot release certificate for the Covid-19 vaccine (Vero cell/Sinopharm), inactivated Lot No. 202108B2331 were not shared, the letter further reads in part.
It is against this background that NDA rejects this consignment of the Covid-19 vaccine as we cant assure the public of the safety, quality and potency, he added.
According to NDA, The official expiry date of the vaccine is August 10 and Dr Aceng had ordered the NDA to inspect the consignment following a request from the Foreign Affairs minister, Gen Jeje Odongo, about the consignment, according to sources.
The ministry compliments Mauritius Government with reference to the donation of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccines to the Republic of Uganda. The certificate of analysis and independent lot release certificate for the Covid-19 vaccine were not availed, Dr Aceng wrote to Gen Odongo on May 1 and its against this background that NDA rejected the consignment.
According to the ministry of health database, At least 16 million Ugandans have been vaccinated with one dose, while more than 10.9 million are fully vaccinated since the exercise started in March 2021, according to the ministry The initial target was to vaccinate around 22 million people, who are 18 years and above.