Uganda’s Ministry of Health has resolved to destroy a consignment of 150,000 doses of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine donated by the Mauritian government to Uganda in March.
According to media reports emerging from Uganda, the country’s National Drug Authority (NDA) inspected the consignment and found it unfit for use “because of irregularities in importation and storage.”
Destroying the vaccines, which are sold in Uganda at a price of $30 (Rs1,305) per dose, means the country will destroy jabs worth Rs195 million.
The Monitor newspaper cited a letter from the NDA dated April 13 as stating 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 said to be essential to track the adherence to storage temperature standards, which is an important component for ensuring the vaccine potency is maintained.
“The inspectors were unable to ascertain the integrity of the cold chain system during storage over the last month. Furthermore, the certificate of analysis and independent Lot release certificate for the Covid-19 vaccine (Vero cell/Sinopharm), inactivated Lot No. 202108B2331 were not shared,” NDA chairperson, Dr Medard Bitekyerezo, wrote to the Health minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng.
“It is against this background that NDA rejects this consignment of the Covid-19 vaccine as we can’t assure the public of the safety, quality and potency,” he added. The official expiry date of the vaccine is August 10, according to NDA.
“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 Foreign Affairs minister, Gen Jeje Odongo on May 10.
“The consignment dispatch did not follow the standard procedures of any vaccine donation as expected to avoid the kind of challenges being experienced,” she added.
“Please be informed that the country is not able to utilise the vaccines under the prevailing circumstances. The only option is incineration,” she said in the letter.
The vaccines are still being held at Entebbe airport.
Some 16 million Ugandans have been vaccinated with one dose, while more than 10.9 million (23.6%) are fully vaccinated since the exercise started in March 2021.
Original article at the Monitor, Uganda