Covid-19: Ethiopia Steps up Vaccine Drive with Campaign Targeting City Dwellers

ADDIS ABABA – Health officials on Tuesday launched a two-week long Covid-19 vaccination campaign that targets residents of 65 cities and towns of Ethiopia.

The new vaccination drive, which started in the capital on Monday, aims to prevent the alarming spread of the virus and its devastating consequences in the country, said Health Minister, Dr. Lia Tadese, in a press briefing on Tuesday.

The confirmed Covid-19 cases number in Ethiopia currently stands at 368, 979 and the acute respiratory disease claiming the lives of 6, 630 Ethiopians.

Many are in severe illness receiving medical treatment, Health Minister Lia said.

She said the newly launched immunization campaign targets “vulnerable communities” in Ethiopian cities and towns to take the available doses.

“We will reach up to 65 cities in all the regions and city administrations across the country to vaccinate people of over 18 years of age in the coming two weeks,” the minister said.

The recently obtained Pfizer vaccine will also be given to persons aged 12 and above, said the ministry of health. Apart from Pfizer, health officials are offering Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and Sinopharm vaccines to the public.

To date, it has administered nearly 5.1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to the public while 3.67 million people fully vaccinated against the virus.

Dr. Lia said the level of vaccines offered to the public so far is not enough considering Ethiopia’s population number. Authorities believe the newly launched campaign would increase the vaccination coverage and reach their first target.

“We have now about 8 million doses and we will get an additional 9.6 million soon. That way, we will reach 20 million doses,” Dr. Lia said, urging the public to get vaccinated against the virus.

Addis Ababa became the first city to start the new campaign on Monday with its Health Bureau said it started offering the vaccine to residents aged 12 and above in 777 health centers.

The bureau targets to immunize at least a million residents of the capital in the coming ten days.

Apart from health centers, the vaccine will also be provided in major market places, malls, public transport centers, industry parks and other areas to increase the coverage, according to the bureau.