Uganda on Wednesday cleared a community of Chinese nationals to import up to 4,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine for their own use.
The businessmen based out of the Liao Shen industrial park in central Uganda had written to the ministry of health asking for authorization to bring in the vaccines.
"They wanted it for themselves, we said strictly limit it to yourselves, we do not want it to spread in the population. Uganda imports vaccines that are World Health Organisation prescribed, assessed for safety... , that is the vaccine we bring for the population and we have applied for it through GAVI," Uganda's minister of health Jane Ruth Aceng was quoted by the Daily Monitor as saying.
In a tweet, the ministry reiterated that no Ugandans were allowed to get the shots.
Govt is NOT importing the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine for use by Ugandans BUT for use by Chinese in Kapeeka who want to import it for Chinese nationals only.They claim the vaccine is being used in their home country. This vaccine is still under research & not approved for use by WHO https://t.co/R3CZADCvyU
— Ministry of Health- Uganda (@MinofHealthUG) December 9, 2020
A November 26 letter from the presidency asked the head of Uganda's national drug authority to 'work out a mechanism' to clear the importation of the vaccines.
China has about five COVID-19 vaccine candidates at different levels of trials. It was not clear what vaccine was being imported into Uganda.
One of the frontrunners is the Sinopharm vaccine developed by the Beijing Institute of Biological Product, a unit of Sinopharm’s China National Biotec Group (CNBG).
On Wednesday, the United Arab Emirates said the vaccine has 86% efficacy, citing an interim analysis of late-stage clinical trials.
China has used the drug to vaccinate up to a million people under its emergency use program.
On Tuesday, Morocco said it was ordering up to 10 million doses of the vaccine.
Uganda on Monday registered 701 new COVID-19 cases, the highest-ever daily increase, bringing its national count to 23,200.
The new cases were out of the 5,578 samples tested for the novel coronavirus over the past 24 hours, the country's health ministry said in a statement.
Tuesday's tally was 606, the second-highest ever number of new infections, bringing the cumulative number of confirmed cases in the east African country to 23,860.
Health authorities have blamed ongoing election campaigns which have drawn huge crowds for the rise in infections.