Police have recovered 600 doses of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine from two private pharmacies in Kampala. 10 suspects were also arrested in the two-day operation following a tip-off from a concerned citizen.
A police officer, who was involved in the operation, intimated that they carried out raids on First Pharmacy Mulago-Wandegeya and Victoria Pharmacy in Ntinda. He explains that they first sent operatives to both facilities under the disguise that they were travellers looking for Covid-19 vaccination and certificates and got assurance that the service was available.
“We swiftly stormed these places in Wandegeya and Ntinda, and the stolen vaccines were found there and of course arrested some suspects from there,” he said.
He says that during the raid on First Pharmacy, they intercepted one of the employees who was running away with some materials in the bag.
“We forced him to open the bag for searching. Upon opening, documents that looked like Covid-19 vaccination certificates dropped down,” he said.
He says that they searched the pharmacy where they recovered some exhibits and arrested some suspects. According to police, they also conducted another raid on Victoria Pharmacy, recovered several doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and arrested five suspects.
Kampala Metropolitan deputy police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigyire confirmed the arrests but declined to reveal the identities of the suspects.
“It’s true about that operation intelligence in Bukoto, we found 600 doses of the vaccine, in these two pharmacies and also ministry of Health vaccination cards and other documents” said Owoyesigyire’’.
He says the suspects are locked up at the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) Kireka. According to police, similar operations are still ongoing after discovering that unscrupulous people stole Covid-19 vaccines from the ministry of Health storage facility and are now busy selling them to the public on the black market.
At a press conference held today, however, First pharmacy demanded an apology from the police, claiming no raid was conducted at their facility or vaccines recovered.
More than 50 pe rcent of the 964,000 doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines donated by Covax Facility and India have already been used. Recently, President Museveni in his televised address said that the government is preparing to get Johnson and Johnson vaccines from the USA and Cuba since India suspended exports. Unicef announced that another 170,000 doses would be arriving in the country in two weeks.