By Edwin Ashimwe
Rwanda received her first Covid-19 shots on Wednesday, March 3, from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global vaccine sharing scheme, Covax.
According to the Ministry of Health, a flight carrying 240,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India landed at the Kigali International Airport in the morning hours of Wednesday.
The second shipment of 102,960 doses of the Pfizer vaccine also from the Covax facility is expected to arrive in the evening.
With each recipient receiving two doses for full protection, the health ministry said that a total of 171,480 people identified as high-risk groups will be prioritized.
The high-risk groups include frontline workers, people above 65 years, health personnel, as well as those with underlying health conditions.
Rwanda is among the first countries to receive consignment from the Covax facility.
“We are pleased to receive these first AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines through the Covax initiative, and appreciate the partnerships with the UN family, Gavi, funders as well as manufactures that have made it possible,” the Minister of Health, Dr Daniel Ngamije noted.
He added, “We will immediately roll out our prepared vaccination plan, which will see target risk groups across Rwanda receive their first of two vaccine doses. Our target is to vaccinate 30% of our population by the end of 2021 and 60% by the end of 2022.”
The delivery comes almost a year after the WHO first declared the novel coronavirus as a global pandemic and eight months after the launch of the Covax initiative.
“Rwanda has responded to the Covid-19 outbreak with determination to suppress circulation of the virus and save lives. These doses of Covid-19 vaccine from the Covax facility represent an unprecedented global effort to have equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.” Dr Kasonde Mwinga, WHO Rwanda Country Representative reiterated.
Following the development, the vaccines will on Thursday be dispatched from Rwanda Biomedical Centre to all 508 health centres in the country.
Consequently, the vaccination exercise will be rolled out on Friday, March 5, with respective recipients of the shots being invited directly to their District Hospitals.
Minister Ngamije called on the yet to be vaccinated individuals to further comply with the Covid-19 preventive measures.
The race by low-income countries to access the vaccine to fight the pandemic has accelerated.
This is a developing story…
Source New Times.