Government Should Put COVID-19 Vaccines On Sale.
Written by Tumwesigye Abdu on August 10, 2021
As the world still battles with the novel COVID19 pandemic, Uganda is at the end of the second wave. As other countries have witnessed up to fourth wave as of now, it wouldn’t be surprising if the third wave rocked the motherland Uganda.
It has been scientifically proven that even the vaccine does not stop one from contracting the disease but it slows the severity if one is infected and so the deaths. Vaccination being the available bullet to shoot the world pandemic, many countries have prioritized the matter and some are fully opening their countries from the nonstop lockdowns since a greater percentage of their population has been vaccinated, take an example of England where the coming premier league season fans are expected to go back to pitches in full blast.
It is upon that background that I urge the government of Uganda to put on the front of the list of priorities the issue of vaccinating. Someone may say, indeed the government knows and is doing whatever it can to vaccinate the stipulated population group but a lot of hurdles have been pointed out in procurement of the vaccines, storage and of course funds.
Recently the government allowed the private sector to buy COVID19 vaccines and vaccinate people with the supervision of the ministry of Health, but this is bound to dupe and exploit the frustrated population.
In this article, I want to interest the government to procure as many doses of the vaccine as the eligible population and put them on sale to Ugandans who are able to buy themselves the vaccines. This will ensure that Ugandans are vaccinated with the rightful vaccines, by experts and handling of aftermath effects is guaranteed. It further allows the private sector to procure vaccines and vaccinate their people, employees or friends put the population at risk of getting fake vaccines, from unreliable sources, non-experienced people to vaccinate, and in case side effects show up, the handling is not sure deal.
I took time to find out of pocket costs for different vaccines on the market. Pfizer manufactured in America by the BioNtech company is 95% effective if a person receives two doses in the difference of three weeks from the first dose, it however needs the temperature of 70°C which is colder than water in Antarctica. The cost of Pfizer is $119.5 per dose, which means each dose costs UGX 70,200 calculating the dollar at UGX 3,600, therefore two doses costs UGX 140,400. If the government put in the transportation and other related costs, many Ugandans can buy themselves the Pfizer vaccine going by the market price as calculated above.
Besides Pfizer which already the ministry of Health blacklisted due to its unbearable temperature tagged next to impossible to maintain in Uganda considering high costs fridges for storage, another optional is Moderna vaccine which is a product from Boston, United States of America, its 95% effective, one needs two doses to build a strong immune system to fight the disease. The two doses costs around UGX 266,400 and its required temperature is 20 degrees Celsius which the normal fridges temperature, surely there is a good number of Uganda who can buy this vaccine from their pockets. If the government contributes by facing other costs.
Another option is the Astra Zeneca vaccine which the country has already got part of in the donations. Manufactured in England by the University of Oxford, with different branches in other countries like India, it is up to 90% effective after getting the two doses, and the cost of two doses is UGX 14,400 meaning it’s the cheapest compared to the first discussed vaccines. Astra Zeneca needs the temperature of like 2° – 8°C which is locally friendly temperature levels. The Astra Zeneca is affordable to all Ugandans if the government meets other costs as discussed above.
The options can further be widened to America′s Johnson and Johnson which go at UGX 36,000 and needs only one dose, there is also China′s Sinovac which costs UGX 18,000 market price.
Therefore, if the government feels that they don’t have enough money to vaccinate the eligible population, then let the government procure the vaccines and sell them to able Ugandans.