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Abdala to The World! Government to Import Cuban Vaccine After WHO Approval

The government has said it will consider importing the Cuban vaccine, Abdala, after the World Health Organisation (WHO) approves it.

This comes after a report by the New York Times that the Cuban health authorities said on Monday that their three-shot Abdala vaccine has proven about 92% effectiveness against Covid-19 in late-stage clinical trials.

Cuba started using its vaccine more than a month ago before it had completed the last stage of clinical trials, according to the American newspaper.

Prof Pontiano Kaleebu, the director of the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), who is also a member of the government vaccine advisory committee, agreed that Abdala is a viable option for the country.

“If the vaccine [Abdala] is working and it is approved by WHO, then it has the potential to be used in the country,” he said.

Uganda is currently using AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines, which it acquired through donations. 
The Ministry of Health yesterday reported that a total of 834,271 people had been vaccinated in the exercise which was launched in March.

The country plans to vaccinate a total of 21.9 million Ugandans to shield the country from the health and economic effects of Covid-19.

President Museveni in a televised address to the nation, on May 1, talked about getting the vaccine from Cuba following frustration with the Indian company Serum Institute of India.

“We were getting the [AstraZeneca Covid-19] vaccines from India but now they are stuck, they don’t have the vaccines. But right now, we are going to get the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) one [vaccines], and also [vaccines] from Cuba.”

We were unable to determine the cost of the vaccine and whether it is effective against the new variants of the coronavirus.  

Sources at Ministry of Health revealed that the government is negotiating a deal with the manufacturers of J&J to bring in the vaccine soonest.

Cuba has been relatively unscathed by the outbreak but has seen a recent sharp increase in cases, registering one of its worst days on Monday with 1,561 confirmed infections in 24 hours. To date, it has recorded just over 169,000 cases and 1,170 deaths.

Under American sanctions, Cuba has a long tradition of making its own vaccines, dating back to the 1980s. Nearly 80% of its vaccines are produced locally and it hopes to come up with the first locally-produced coronavirus shot in Latin America.

Additional reporting by AFP and Daily Monitor

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