The vaccination campaign will begin Monday after the arrival of 504,000 doses of AstraZeneca as part of the global vaccine sharing program.
Côte d’Ivoire became the second country to receive a shipment of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX, the global vaccine sharing program.
The vaccines, 504,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, arrived in the commercial capital, Abidjan on Friday, paving the way for the West African nation to launch a vaccination campaign next week.
Ghana received the first shipment of COVAX on Wednesday, marking the start of what WHO and UNICEF are calling the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history.
By the end of 2021, COVAX plans to deliver nearly two billion doses to more than 90 low- and middle-income countries, in hopes of leveling the playing field that has seen richer countries vaccinate millions of people while relatively few have received vaccines in the poorest regions of the world. .
The initiative – led by WHO, a vaccine group Gavi, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations – has been hampered by the very limited global supply of doses as well as logistical issues that have delayed immunizations across global.
According to WHO Africa, around 24 more countries are expected to start receiving vaccines via COVAX next week.
Côte d’Ivoire will begin its vaccination campaign on Monday.
Health Minister Eugène Aka Aouele said the first phase will target health personnel, defense and security forces, and teachers in Abidjan, where 95% of the country’s cases have been recorded.
The minister said that this first batch would target more than 250,000 people.
Côte d’Ivoire has more than 25 million inhabitants.
“This is an important step in our common fight against the common enemy of COVID-19,” said the Minister. “The pandemic has taken its toll around the world and our country is no exception.”
Côte d’Ivoire is facing a resurgence of the pandemic which has increased cases and hospitalizations.
It has recorded 32,295 cases and 188 deaths since its first case was recorded on March 11 last year, according to figures from the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Today is an important first step towards realizing our shared vision of vaccine equity, but it is just the start,” said WHO Representative in Côte d’Ivoire, Dr Jean -Marie Vianney Yameogo.
“Global and equitable access to a vaccine, which will protect health workers and those most at risk of contracting the disease in particular, is the only way to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on public health and economy.”