At the close of last week, parliament passed a supplementary budget of shs292 billion.
The funds are meant for purchase of COVID19 vaccines, purchase of ambulances compensations under the land fund and compensation of tobacco farmers among others.
The funds are also meant for purchase of more face masks and funding to Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) for support in conducting exams under the current COVID19 pandemic.
Speaking about the pricing of the COVID-19 vaccine, Health minister Jane Ruth Aceng said The COVID-19 Vaccine Market Dashboard gives transparency and visibility to information on the COVID-19 vaccine market.
The tool gives an overview of the vaccines in the pipeline, their development stage and technology platforms. It also provides information on the price points.
Currently, the range of reported vaccines prices per dose varies from $2.19 – $44On the cost of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
All countries have been guided by Gavi to use a working price of 7$ per dose as the planning figure.
Full vaccination with AstraZeneca vaccine requires 2 doses separated by 28 days apart, which amounts to 14$ per person.
The international freight, customs clearance, handling costs in country and distribution to districts costs USD 3$ for full dose.
It is for this reason that the total cost of vaccine per person is estimated at USD 17$.
Coronavirus variant in Uganda
A coronavirus variant has been detected in Uganda that has a mutation similar to the fast-spreading variant in the UK, and has quickly become the most common coronavirus in Uganda’s capital city Kampala, a pre-print study reported Thursday.
The newly emerged coronavirus variant has evolved separately from the variant in the UK, which is from the “B lineage” and called B.1.1.7. The variant in Uganda is from the “A lineage,” and referred to as A.23.1 in the study.
According to Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Flu Data (GISAID), A.23.1 is a lineage itself that has a number of variants of “potential biological concern”, of which the variant in Uganda is an example.
From June to October 2020, lineage A viruses accounted for only 25% of viruses in the Kampala region. By December 2020, 49 of the 50 sequenced samples from the Kampala region belonged to the new A.23.1 lineage, the authors said.
There have been more than 39,000 Ugandans known to be infected with COVID-19, and 328 people have died according to the World Health Organization.
Crucially, the variant in Uganda has genetic changes in the spike protein, the part of the virus it uses to infect human cells. The authors identified a certain mutation, P681R, that could mean it behaves similarly to the variant in the UK, B.1.1.7 that has a similar mutation in its spike protein, P681H.
A.23.1 variants have been detected in other countries as well as Uganda, including the UK, Rwanda, Canada, and Cambodia, according to GISAID.