Ethiopia gears for vaccination drive as doses arrive

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) – Ethiopia received its first 2.2 million doses of vaccine against the coronavirus yesterday, and officials in Africa’s second most populous country said the first jabs would be administered in the coming days.

The doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, were allocated under the United Nations (UN)-led COVAX initiative which is working to facilitate vaccine access for poorer countries.

“After a long wait of uncertainty, hope has become a reality,” health minister Dr Lia Tadesse said at a ceremony yesterday morning at the airport in the Ethiopian capital
Addis Ababa.

She hailed COVAX as “an unprecedented global partnership”, adding: “The more people get vaccinated, the faster we’re going to beat this pandemic.” Ethiopia has so far reported 165,029 cases of Covid-19, the fifth-highest total in Africa and the highest in East Africa.

“We have lost more than 2,400 of our brothers and sisters, and we know the real numbers could be much higher.”