Ethiopia Receives the First Astra Zeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

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Addis Ababa March 7/2021 (ENA) Ethiopia received on Sunday 2.2 million Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccines allocated by the COVAX Facility in marking the start of the country’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

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

The Astra Zeneca vaccines licensed and manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII), were delivered by Ethiopian Airlines at Bole International Airport today.

Health Minister Dr. Lia Tadesse along with other senior government officials received the shipment of vaccines in the presence WHO Representative Dr. Boureima Hama Sambo, UNICEF Representative Adele Khodr and development partners.

On the occasion, Lia commended COVAX Facility, vaccine manufacturers and global development partners.

“What seemed unattainable a few months ago is now in our hands and, 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.

She further noted that “Ethiopia is proud to have contributed to this global effort representing the African Region.”

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, WHO Representative in Ethiopia Dr. Boureima Hama Sambo said.

WHO will continue to work with the Government of Ethiopia and global partners to ensure that Ethiopia receives, deploys and administers adequate quantities of COVID-19 vaccines to the people, he added.

The vaccines were produced within a year of the WHO Director-General’s declaration of the novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), it was learned.

COVAX is part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.