The Ministry of Agriculture has issued a stern warning against the purchase of unauthorized Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccines, urging farmers to cease buying products not imported by the government. This caution follows the discovery of “fake and unauthorised” FMD vaccines in circulation, as reported by the National Drug Authority (NDA).
The Agriculture Ministry emphasized the potential prolongation of the FMD fight due to the uncertainty surrounding the quality and effectiveness of unauthorized vaccines. The NDA flagged specific products, including “Purified FMD FOTIVAX Foot and Mouth Disease Inactivated Vaccine” and “National Veterinary Institute Foot and Mouth Disease Broad Spectrum Vaccine,” advising the public against their use.
Maj Gen (Rtd) David Kasura Kyomukama, the Permanent Secretary of MAAIF, urged farmers to collaborate with the government in eradicating FMD. He emphasized the importance of patience, urging farmers to await government-acquired vaccines rather than risk purchasing counterfeit products.
Kyomukama highlighted concerns regarding vaccines purportedly sourced from Ethiopia, clarifying that FMD vaccines are exclusively procured through the government. He warned against the potential misapplication of vaccines, emphasizing the risk of vaccinating against incorrect serotypes.
Reports indicated that some farmers had been purchasing FMD vaccines from Kenya at varying prices, yet NDA reiterated that any vaccine not procured through official government channels is deemed counterfeit and potentially unsafe.
Abiaz Rwamwiri, the NDA spokesperson, confirmed ongoing investigations into the matter, emphasizing that only MAAIF is authorized to import FMD vaccines. He cautioned against smuggled vaccines, underscoring the risks associated with unauthorized products.
The government’s response to the FMD crisis includes plans to procure 10 million doses of FMD vaccines, with each dose estimated to cost $2 (Shs7,600). While the procurement process is underway, the Ministry of Agriculture is expediting efforts to ensure timely availability of vaccines.
Despite the economic impact of FMD, estimated at over Shs700 billion in national losses, challenges persist due to budgetary constraints. Minister Frank Tumwebaze highlighted the government’s commitment to providing vaccines as a public good, acknowledging funding limitations in meeting demand.
While regional studies offer insights into the economic ramifications of FMD outbreaks, a comprehensive national study is yet to be conducted.