The Ministry of Health has said that it does not know the cost of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccine despite ordering for two million doses.

According to top ministry officials, the government has only budgeted for the vaccination process to cost an estimated Shs 1.4 trillion ($405 million). While addressing journalists last week, Dr Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary of the ministry of Health, said they are waiting for the Covid-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX) to tell them how much the vaccine will cost.

While they have made orders for the vaccine, she said they are waiting for the drug manufacturers to set a vaccine price. More than 190 countries are part of the Global Vaccine Access Facility. Uganda, Rwanda and Mozambique are among 92 of the countries that will benefit.

A statement issued by Astra Zeneca in November 2020 intimated that COVAX would buy each dose of the vaccine from the manufactures at three dollars. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the COVAX facility has ordered for two billion doses of the vaccine. The vaccines are going to be manufactured by the Serum Institute, a biotechnology firm located in India.

The first batch of vaccines is expected to be delivered to the UN health agency next month before sending to countries that are part of the facility.

Dr Atwine said the estimated cost of the vaccine campaign is expected to rise.

“The cost of Shs 1.4 trillion is a working estimate of the national deployment vaccination plan to roll out the Covid-19 vaccine. This money will cover transport costs, training of health workers, flight fees for the vaccine. It might not even be enough, and we shall need more money,” she said.

According to Dr Alfred Driwale, the programme manager of the Uganda National Expanded Program on Immunization, the Shs 1.4 trillion estimate was reached during a budgeting process guided by WHO.