Rwanda became the first African country to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday March 3, with the delivery of around 100,000 doses, AFP learned from corroborating sources.
This small East African country of 12 million inhabitants received 240,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier on Wednesday, a first delivery as part of the Covax initiative, a device which aims to provide anti-Covid injections to low income countries.
Our goal is to make vaccines accessible globally and today's delivery to Rwanda is a big step forward,
” Pfizer said in a statement.
Also read: Why Pfizer's vaccine should remain highly effective against all current variants
An official of the Rwandan Ministry of Health told AFP that the doses of this vaccine which must be kept at very low temperatures had been "
transported in cold rooms
" upon their arrival at Kigali airport around 8:15 pm local time. (7:15 p.m. in France).
According to the Ministry of Health, the 340,000 doses received in total on Wednesday will be sent on Thursday from a biomedical warehouse to sector hospitals and then to hundreds of health centers scattered across the country, and will be administered from Friday.
They will immunize around 171,500 health workers, as well as other priority populations, such as people over 65 or suffering from long-term illnesses, according to the same source.
Rwanda began vaccinating the most exposed groups, such as healthcare workers, in February after obtaining 1,000 doses of the vaccine from the American laboratory Moderna.
It plans to vaccinate 30% of its population this year, and 60% by the end of 2022, said Health Minister Daniel Ngamije.
We will immediately implement our vaccination plan, which will allow at-risk groups to receive the first of two doses of vaccine throughout Rwanda,
" he said in a statement.
Rwanda has carried out more than a million tests for the coronavirus and has detected just over 19,100 cases, resulting in 265 deaths.
It imposed some of the most stringent anti-coronavirus measures on the continent, with a total halt to activity in the country in March 2020, and a re-containment of the capital Kigali in January 2021.