Rwanda received 240 000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines earlier this week, and will kick start its vaccine roll-out programmes tomorrow (Friday, March 5).
A second shipment of 102 960 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, also from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) COVAX programme – established to ensure equitable access to vaccines for developing nations – is expected to arrive in the East African country soon.
According to WHO, with each recipient receiving two doses for full protection, the AstraZeneca-Oxford and Pfizer vaccines will be used to vaccinate 171 480 people identified as priority risk groups, including health personnel, the elderly, those with co-morbidities and other frontline workers.
Minister of Health Dr Daniel Ngamije said: “We are pleased to receive these first AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines through the COVAX initiative, and appreciate the partnerships that have made this possible. 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.”
WHO Rwanda Country Representative, Dr Kasonde Mwinga, added: “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."
Rwanda has, to date, recorded 19 111 coronavirus cases and 265 deaths.