Ivory Coast launches first vaccination drive with COVAX shots
Ivory Coast launched the world’s first Covid-19 inoculation drive on Monday with doses imported from the COVAX sharing facility, a milestone in the race to extend vaccine access to poorer countries.
The Secretary-General at the presidency, Patrick Achi, was the first to be vaccinated at a sports complex in the commercial capital Abidjan. Onlookers cheered as a health worker in a white coat and pink scrubs delivered the injection.
Medical personnel, teachers and security forces members were also being vaccinated in the first phase of the campaign targeting 3% of the population.
“The vaccines offer us the hope of returning to normal in the coming months,” Achi said.
Ivory Coast has recorded 36,109 infections and 192 coronavirus-related deaths.
COVAX, which is led by the GAVI vaccines alliance along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners, aims to deliver over 1.3 billion doses to 92 low- and middle-income countries, covering up to 20% of their populations.
“This is a day many of us have been dreaming of and working for more than 12 months,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
In the next week, COVAX expects to deliver 11 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, it said in a statement.
It added that the allocation of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine to be delivered to participating countries between now and the end of May is expected on Tuesday.
Edited by Olajumoke Adeleke