Ethiopia commences COVID-19 vaccination rollout

Sr Martha receiving COVID-19 vaccine at Eka Koteb Hospital. Source: UNICEF Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health on Saturday launched its COVID-19 vaccination rollout, with Health Care Workers being the first to be inoculated, at an event held at Eka Kotebe COVID-19 Hospital.

Sr Martha receiving COVID-19 vaccine at Eka Koteb Hospital.
Source: UNICEF Ethiopia

Education Minister Dr. Getahun Mekuria said, “with the introduction of vaccines, we are now at a landmark stage in the response to COVID-19, but vaccines will be of sideline use if face masks, keeping distance and hand hygiene are not maintained.”

“The arrival of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX provides an effective tool to end the acute phase of the pandemic. To maximise the public health benefit of the vaccine, the National Vaccine Deployment Plan prioritizes the first doses for health and essential workers, and other at-risk groups,” WHO Representative Dr. Boureima Hama Sambo said.

Dr. Tenaye Desalegn, the first person to receive the vaccine and has been working at the Eka Kotebe hospital for about 10 months caring for COVID-19 patients said he had always been “anxious, always worrying that I might myself one day contract the disease. I am grateful for the opportunity to get vaccinated. I can now treat my patients with better assurance of my own safety as I continue to employ all prevention measures.”

The first shipment of 2.2 million AstraZeneca vaccines produced by Serum Institute of India (SII) arrived in Ethiopia on 6 March 2021 through COVAX, which facilitated the procurement and shipment of the vaccines. Subsequent shipments of 5.4 million doses as part of the current global deployment plan are expected to arrive in Ethiopia by May 2021.

(With input from UNICEF Ethiopia)