The National Drug Authority has not registered any life-threatening side effects associated with the use of China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine.
Uganda received 300,000 doses of Sinovac in July as a donation from China, and the jabs were subsequently ringfenced for teachers who had not been vaccinated.
According to the health ministry, the vaccines meant for teachers have all been used up, with Kampala recording up to 200,000 vaccinations in this category.
But the National Drug Authority says that despite earlier fears, teachers who were vaccinated with this type of jab have only reported the expected side effects like headaches, soreness at the injection site and general body weakness.
Abiaz Rwamiri, the Principal Public Relations Officer at the NDA says the drug authority has not received any complaints regarding the use of the vaccine. Rwamiri however advises people who might suffer side effects to swallow a painkiller to alleviate whatever issues might arise after getting vaccinated.
The use of COVID-19 vaccines across the world has sparked off a debate concerning the occurrence of blood clots, especially with the AstraZeneca vaccine. NDA, however, says that it has also not received any major sided effects for AstraZeneca despite widespread global scares that the vaccine leads to blood clotting.
In April, a report released by the European Medicines Agency revealed that all vaccines can lead to the development of blood clots in the body. But Dr Alfred Driwale, the Programme Manager of the Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunization in an earlier interview with URN the probability of Ugandans suffering from clots was slight.
“We are still carrying out vaccination but it is important to note that people respond to vaccines differently. Blood clots are not a common thing here. The reports of blood clots are coming from countries where the probability for this to happen is very high. So far we have not received any reports of adverse effects,” Dr Driwale said.
According to Rwamiri, the only problem the authority has had with the vaccines was a prolonged expiry date. Most manufactured COVID-19 vaccines have a life span of six months, but the Sinovac ones had a year.
Recently the authority concluded investigations into the death of a medical student from Busitema University who died a few days after vaccination. “We have completed investigations and a report has been sent to the health ministry stating the findings,” Rwamiri said.
So far Uganda has vaccinated over one million people out of the targeted 22 million.