Angola first country in southern and East Africa to receive vaccines via Covax initiative
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Johannesburg – Angola on Tuesday became the first country in East and southern Africa to receive a Covid-19 vaccine from the Covax initiative, a statement issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
Covax is an initiative between WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (Unicef) and public-private global health partnership GAVI, which aims to ensure rapid and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines for all countries, regardless of income level.
“Angola today received 624 000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine from the Sérum Institute of India as part of the Covax initiative,” WHO said.
“With this first batch of vaccines, estimated at about 10 percent of the country's first phase vaccine needs, the government will immunise health professionals, vulnerable people and those with complicated comorbidities.”
The arrival of the vaccines marks another important step towards fairer access to vaccines, WHO regional director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said.
“With this shipment, the first Portuguese-speaking country in Africa accesses this essential tool in the fight against the virus,” she said in the statement.
“WHO teams in the region and partners have been supporting countries in planning and preparing for the complex challenges of such a massive vaccination campaign. We now hope to see these plans be put in place with an effective and efficient release of the vaccine.”
The Covax initiative aims to provide at least 2 billion doses of vaccines by the end of 2021.
On Monday, Unicef said the first Covid-19 vaccination campaigns in Africa using Covax doses had begun in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, with the former having taken delivery of 600 000 doses on February 24 while Côte d’Ivoire received 504 000 doses two days later.
Both countries received the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine licensed and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and granted emergency use listing by WHO on February 15.
African News Agency (ANA)