The UNITAG recommends using the mRNA Moderna vaccine in Uganda because it is safe (the benefits outweigh the risks), efficacious, and has acceptable logistical and storage requirements in terms of the cold chain and administration, in line with available capacities in the country.
Vaccine efficacy: The mRNA-1273 Moderna vaccine is highly efficacious (94.1%) against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. The Vaccine is recommended for persons aged 18 years and above, particularly older persons without an upper limit of age and persons with comorbidities. A schedule of two doses (100 μg each, 0.5 ml each) should be given intramuscularly with an interval of up to 42 days between doses. The same product should be used for both doses, and no booster dose is needed.
Vaccination of specific populations: Healthcare workers involved in the vaccination process should conduct an individual risk-benefit assessment for very frail older persons with a life expectancy anticipated to be less than three (3) months. The mRNA-1273 Moderna use is not recommended in pregnancy until more data is available. However, in circumstances where the benefit of vaccinating a pregnant woman outweighs the potential vaccine risks, such as in health workers at high risk of exposure or women with significant comorbidities, vaccination may be considered. Breastfeeding women can be vaccinated if part of a risk group (healthcare workers, teachers, 50years and above or persons with comorbidities).
Vaccination logistics: Considering the fact that National Medical Stores has a net freezer capacity
(L) is 12,200L to handle a maximum of 11,200L of three vaccine doses (nOPV, Moderna, and bOPV) with the same cold chain capacity of -15°C; there is adequate freezer capacity for the 647,080 doses of Moderna vaccine expected in the country.
Additional Considerations and recommendations regarding vaccine uptake
1. UNITAG recommends that the Ministry of Health/ UNEPI explore other methods of mobilizing the targeted high-risk groups (a targeted social mobilization strategy) to increase vaccination coverage before the country receives more vaccines as expected.
2. There is a need for the Ministry of Health to urgently address poor facilitation for health workers and mobilizers to be fully engaged in the vaccination process before the country receives more vaccines.
3. The Ministry of Health should develop appropriate behavioral communication messages in the five (5) regional local languages to ensure all Ugandans understand the intended message.
- Moderna COVID-19 vaccine