World, Health, Africa

Amid spike, Rwanda orders 1M COVID-19 vaccine doses

East African country targets to vaccinate 8M people in 2 years

James Tasamba   | 21.01.2021
Amid spike, Rwanda orders 1M COVID-19 vaccine doses

KIGALI, Rwanda

After witnessing a spike in COVID-19 cases, Rwanda has ordered 1 million vaccine doses with the first batch expected to arrive in the country by February, an official said on Thursday.

Sabin Nsanzimana, director general of Rwanda Biomedical Center, told local media the government is purchasing the vaccine through the international COVAX facility, created to facilitate access and production of the vaccine.

The government has so far purchased vaccines developed by Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna, Nsanzimana said, adding all is set to receive 1 million vaccine doses in the “first emergency phase.”

A landlocked East African country, Rwanda intends to acquire 20% of its vaccines through COVAX.

The official noted that ultra-cold freezers and containers are in place in each province for proper storage and distribution of vaccines.

Rwanda targets to vaccinate 8 million people in two years, according to the Health Ministry.

The government has announced that the first and primary beneficiaries of the COVID-19 jab will get it free. These include health personnel, people with comorbidities as well as those aged 65 or above.

The country has witnessed a spike in new coronavirus cases, which health officials attributed to complacency during festive days.

Rwanda registered a record daily rise on Wednesday with 312 new coronavirus cases confirmed, bringing the tally to 11,860 with 3,895 active cases.

To contain the virus' spread, authorities imposed a two-week lockdown on the capital Kigali.

The government has directed public health facilities to expand the health insurance to cover COVID-19-related treatment in a bid to reduce the mortality rate and ensure timely access to treatment.

The Health Ministry has integrated COVID-19 management in the existing health system, whereby community health workers follow up patients who are not in critical conditions and are under home-based care.

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