Togo receives first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines to start immunization

NETHERLANDS - 2020/11/29: In this photo illustration, a man holds a syringe with a fake Covid-19 vaccine with the AstraZeneca logo in the background. (Photo Illustration by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The government of Togo welcomed its first batch of AstraZeneca anti-COVID-19 vaccines as part of the World Health Organization (WHO) COVAX facility at the Gnassingbe Eyadema International Airport Sunday night.

The batch included 156,000 doses of vaccines, 157,500 syringes and 1,575 safety boxes to be used for immunization targeting health personnel and people over 50 years in the capital Lome and its outskirts.

“It’s a landmark moment we are experiencing today,” said UNICEF Representative to Togo Dr. Aissata Ba Sidibe shortly after the first batch of the vaccines arrived at the airport in Lome.

“I would like to commend the efforts of the government of Togo to be one of the first countries in the world to receive the first batches of COVAX initiative vaccines, so as to protect the most at-risk populations against COVID-19,” she said.

Mustafa Mijiyawa, the Togolese minister of Health, ensured that these were “approved vaccines” and declared the immunization operation will start by Thursday and Friday after debriefing Tuesday and Wednesday.

So far, Togo has registered a total of 7,570 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 6,306 people who have recovered, 1,172 patients under treatment and a death toll at 92 since it reported its first positive COVID-19 case on March 6, 2020.