Kampala, Uganda – President Yoweri Museveni has reiterated his desire to have a Ugandan made coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.
The President made these remarks yesterday, Saturday March 27 after getting his first jab of the Astrazeneca Covid vaccine. He was vaccinated alongside the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Janet Kataha Museveni.
Mr Museveni said he was working with Ugandan scientists to fast track a home made vaccine.
“I am working with our people to develop our own vaccine. We are not just sitting…we are a bit late but we believe our vaccine will target all COVID-19 variants,” he said.
According to President Museveni, the vaccine will be ready for experimentation on mice by June and by August this year, with permission from the World Health Organisation, it will be tried on humans.
He also said that he had been briefed on pros and cons of the AstraZeneca vaccine, adding that though it protects one from the Chinese virus, it does not protect you from the South African and Brazil variants.
“I have been briefed about these vaccines. This one we have just taken has also been taken by Ugandans at high risk of infection including medical workers, soldiers, teachers, etc. We are not as high risk, but now we decided to take it. This vaccine protects one from the Chinese virus.. the one they call Wuhan virus and the virus circulating in Kampala here but does not protect you from the virus from South Africa and Brazil,” he said.
He revealed how he had decided to take the AstraZeneca vaccine because it protects one from severe sickness and death.
“Although it may not stop the SA and Brazil virus from entering the body, but if it does, you will not be very sick and you will not die,” he said.
The President’s words were reiterated by Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng who reaffirmed that the vaccine protects from severe disease and death.
“It’s important that people get vaccinated with the Astrazeneca vaccine which is available now as we wait for our own vaccine that is in the process of research. The vaccine will protect Ugandans and help them not to go to hospital. There are several strains of the virus circulating including the variants from South Africa, Brazil, United Kingdom and others. Even in Uganda there are variants but these do respond to the Astrazeneca vaccine. So it is important that you take it,” she said.
According to Dr Aceng, “the more people get vaccinated, the greater the opportunity for all people to get protected and also to ensure that we don’t congest our hospitals with very sick people.”