Uganda to Vaccinate Half Its Population Before Reopening Economy


Uganda will spend 4 trillion shillings ($1.1 billion) to battle the coronavirus pandemic in a three-year plan that involves vaccinating 22 million people before fully reopening the economy.

Most of the funds will go to the health ministry and provision of economic stimulus and social support to the most vulnerable communities in the period through June 2022, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija said via Twitter.

The East African nation is struggling to boost economic growth to 4.3% this fiscal year, with a smaller budget targeted at narrowing the fiscal deficit to 6.4% of gross domestic product. Authorities are moving to ramp up vaccination to enable them spur activity.

The government has set aside 560 billion shillings to procure Covid-19 vaccines and inoculate about half of the East African nation’s population, Kasaija said in an emailed statement earlier. “It’s only then that we will be able to fully re-open for tourism, entertainment, arts and recreation, and education to resume normal operation,” he said.

The government finalized legal requirements for the purchase of 2 million Johnson and Johnson vaccines through the Africa Export-Import Bank and the African Union, Health Minister Ruth Aceng said earlier this month. It’s also at different stages for securing doses from Cuba, Russia, China and the U.K., she said.

So far, the country has received only 1.14 million doses through the Covax facility and the Indian government. It is also due to receive a batch of 285,600 doses under Covax in a few weeks, another of 688,800 in August and a donation of 300,000 doses from Sinovac later this month.

Uganda has administered over 1 million doses and registered about 85,000 cases since March last year.

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