Ivory Coast has received over 500,000 doses of the Oxford-Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Assess Facility (COVAX) making it the second country to benefit from the facility.
Ghana is the first country to benefit from the programme with the delivery of 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines on Wednesday.
COVAX, a World Health Organization-backed programme, was set-up to divide about two billion doses of vaccines across 92 low-and middle-income countries.
The facility promised access to vaccines for up to 20 per cent of participating countries’ population with an initial supply beginning in the first quarter of the year to immunise three per cent of their populations.
“Cote d’Ivoire is the second country in Africa to receive COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility,” the World Health Organisation (WHO) regional office for Africa tweeted on Friday.
“504,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine just arrived in Abidjan. Another step towards #VaccinEquity & a symbol of global cooperation & solidarity.”
The WHO regional director, Matshidiso Moeti, said the vaccines will be rolled out to frontline health workers in the coming days.
“Over half a million vaccines just arrived in Abidjan & will be rolled out with frontline health workers in the coming days,” she said.
One year after Africa recorded its first case of the infection, over 3.9 million cases have been reported and the death toll surpassed 100,000 last week.
Ivory Coast, with a population of about 26 million, has recorded over 32,000 COVID-19 cases and 188 deaths, data from worldometers shows.
Nigeria is also expecting to receive 16 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines with the first four million expected soon.
Nigeria’s health minister, Osagie Ehanire, on Wednesday admitted that the country may have to wait till March to receive its first doses of the vaccines.
“Now, the COVAX will start delivering to African countries before the end of February, that’s what they told us. But they didn’t tell us which country is first or which is second, which is third,” Mr Ehanire said at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday.
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