By Camillus Eboh and Omar Mohammed
ABUJA / NAIROBI (Reuters) – Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda started vaccination to frontline healthcare workers and people at risk of COVID-19 on Friday as Africa, the world’s poorest continent. And a population of 1.3 billion people has increased the vaccination campaign.
While some wealthy western nations have already vaccinated millions of people. But many African states have struggled to achieve a safe, yet unattended supply.
But global co-vaccination COVAX facilities, led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the GAVI vaccine alliance, and others have begun to take effect in countries from Ghana to Rwanda.
“This means I will die when God wants it because the coronavirus can̵7;t kill me right now,” said 90-year-old Stephanie Nyirankuriza, leaning on a stick after she was shot at a health center in the east of Rwanda’s capital Kigali.
Rwanda was the first country in Africa to use Pfizer’s drug in ultra-cold storage quantities.
President Paul Kagame’s government, which prides itself on its technological prowess. But often criticized for being authoritarian, it has installed a special infrastructure to keep the Pfizer vaccine at the -70C it needs.
The Kagame government, which received both Pfizer and AstraZeneca from the COVAX facility, plans to vaccinate 30 percent of Rwanda’s 12 million people by the end of the year.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and the largest economy, was vaccinated by healthcare workers with an AstraZeneca photograph on Friday, marking the start of a campaign aimed at vaccination. 80 million out of 200 million people this year.
“I want everyone to be vaccinated,” Mg Ciprian, 42, told Reuters in the capital Abuja as he became the first in Nigeria to receive a shot while the authorities applauded. Hands and encouragement
President Muhammad Buhari will undergo vaccination Saturday to boost public confidence.
Nigeria took delivery of 3.92 million doses of AstraZeneca on Tuesday under COVAX, but the facility aims to cover 20% of the population in the country it supports. Nigeria is also expected to receive at least 40 million doses from the African Union and India’s Covishield vaccine that donates 100,000 doses.
‘Vaccines are safe’
A applause for the first vaccination in Kenya on Friday after receiving the first million this week through COVAX.
“I feel great,” said Health Secretary Patrick Amoth after he was shot. “Safe vaccine”
Kenya, which is keen to revive its tourism-dependent economy, East Africa’s largest, plans to vaccinate 1.25 million people by June and 9.6 million in the coming phase. The vaccine was increased within a few weeks.
“This could be the beginning of the end of the outbreak,” said Susan Mochache, a senior health ministry official.
Nearby Uganda has delivered the first 864,000 doses of AstraZeneca through COVAX and aims to begin vaccination on March 10.
As of Thursday, Africa overall reported infection with nearly 4 million and 104,000 deaths, which is still relatively low compared to the rest of the continent, with the country’s high number of deaths. Than in the United States, India, Brazil, Russia and England.
South Africa has the highest number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Africa, with 1.5 million cases and more than 50,000 deaths to date.
On Friday, a senior health official said South Africa was in talks with the African Union (AU) platform to buy the vaccine for at least 10 million people.
The country has temporarily allocated 12 million doses developed by AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson in the AU vaccine plan, but it was unclear how many vaccines to buy after the AstraZeneca shot ($ 1 = 109.5500) was halted. Kenyan shilling)
(Additional reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana in Kigali, Elias Biryabirema in Kampala and Alexander Winning in Johannesburg, written by Gareth Jones; Edited by Alex Richardson)