Supported by the COVAX initiative, African countries begin vaccinations as they look to revive economies.
On Friday, Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda began their vaccination programmes, with frontline healthcare workers and vulnerable citizens being the first to receive doses. Facilitated through the COVAX programme, which aims to make vaccines accessible to less privileged countries, the significant milestones come as the continent looks to revive economies battered by the pandemic. The COVAX initiative is seen as a source of hope for poorer countries as they look to follow steps taken by wealthier nations and contain the effects of the pandemic. Across the continent, Ghana was the first country to receive vaccines through the initiative, with the nation’s president Nana Akufo-Addo being the first citizen to receive the vaccine.
Looking to vaccinate up to a third of its 12 million citizens by year end, Rwanda received both Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines through the initiative. With the former requiring ultra-cold storage conditions, the government has been lauded for installing the requisite infrastructure to support the -70C storage requirements. Nigeria is also making notable progress. After receiving almost four million AstraZeneca doses through the facility, the continent’s biggest economy and most populous nation also started its programme on Friday as it looks to vaccinate 80 million of its 200 million citizens by the end of 2021. The East African giant Kenya also received over a million doses through the programme.