Rwanda receives US-donated COVID vaccines

Rwanda receives US-donated COVID vaccines

East African country is nearing 1 million vaccinations, says Health Ministry

By James Tasamba

KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) – Rwanda’s Health Ministry said Wednesday that it had received the first consignment of nearly half a million doses of Pfizer Inc.'s COVID-19 vaccine donated by the US.

Around 188,000 doses were received as part of the 489,060 donated, and the remainder will be received Friday.

“We are grateful to the US government for these vaccines. As Rwanda rolls out vaccinations across the country to save lives and mitigate the harmful impact of the pandemic, these doses are much needed and will be put to good use immediately,” Rwandan Health Minister Daniel Ngamije told journalists in the capital, Kigali.

The donation is part of the Biden administration's support for COVAX, the global vaccine sharing program with the World Health Organization (WHO) to help distribute vaccines to poorer countries.

The vaccines to Rwanda include the first 100,000 doses from the Biden administration's global pledge of 500 million doses made earlier this summer.

In June, Biden said the US would donate 500 million doses of Pfizer's shot, made with partner BioNTech SE.

“The United States is pleased to provide these COVID-19 vaccine doses and to lead the world in bringing an end to this global pandemic. Your health is our health and our health is your health,” said Peter H. Vrooman, the US ambassador to Rwanda.

The East African country is nearing 1 million vaccinations, including of frontline workers and the most vulnerable, according to the Health Ministry.

The country aims to vaccinate 60% of its population by June 2022.

Besides frontline personnel, including community health workers, Rwanda had lowered the eligibility for vaccination to people aged 40 years and above as well as priority risk groups such as pregnant women, those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.

As of Wednesday, Rwanda had registered an accumulated tally of 80,704 COVID-19 cases with 977 fatalities since the outbreak of the virus in the country last year.

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