COVID-19: Vaccines Arrival in Ethiopia Could be ‘Turn of tide for better’: WHO

  • Vaccinations will start ‘in the next few days’

ADDIS ABEBA – The World Health Organisation (WHO) said the arrival of COVID-19 vaccine in Ethiopia could be a turn of tide for better as the country received 2.184mln million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine via the COVAX Facility.

The AstraZeneca vaccines licensed and manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII), were delivered by Ethiopian Airlines at Bole International Airport on Sunday morning.

The delivery is part of the first wave of arrivals of the COVID-19 vaccines in Ethiopia that will continue in the coming weeks, according to the United Nations.

“The arrival of the vaccines in Addis Ababa is a major milestone, a turn of the tides for the better, in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to the coordinated global action for equitable vaccine distribution,” said Dr Boureima Hama Sambo, WHO Representative in Ethiopia.

Sambo said the WHO will continue to work with Ethiopia and global partners to ensure the country “receives, deploys and administers adequate quantities of COVID-19 vaccines to the Ethiopian people, because as WHO has repeatedly said, no one is safe until everyone is safe.”

Boost the fight 

Officials say vaccinations will commence in the next few days for the first phase priority groups such as front line health workers.

“What seemed unattainable a few months ago is now in our hands,” said Dr Lia Tadesse, Ethiopia’s Health Minister, who expressed Ethiopia’s appreciation of the COVAX Facility, vaccine manufacturers and global development partners.

“With it, the assurance of protecting our people, and a hope that we can beat the pandemic through cascaded and equitable vaccination of the population alongside other public health measures,” she said.

The vaccines were produced within a year of the WHO Director-General’s declaration of the COVID-19 disease a public health emergency of international concern, and almost a year after Ethiopia confirmed its first case on March 13, 2021.

The arrival of the vaccines in Ethiopia was made possible through the COVAX Facility with the generous support of partners that spared no efforts or resources to ensure the timely and equitable distribution of vaccines across the globe, according to unicef.