Rwanda has procured 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine ahead of its rollout of the second jabs for its citizens set to begin on April 2, the country’s health minister said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a press conference in the capital Kigali, Daniel Ngamije assured that everyone in the East African country who received the first dose of the vaccine would get the second jab on time.
A total of 290,000 people have so far received the first jabs of the AstraZeneca vaccine, while 51,000 have received Pfizer jabs, said Ngamije.
The Pfizer vaccine was mainly administered in Kigali as it needs to be stored in special freezers at minus 70 C (minus 94 F).
Besides the vaccines procured so far, Ngamije said Rwanda expects 200,000 more vaccine doses via the COVAX facility.
The country received its first shipment of 240,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine and 102,960 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from COVAX on March 3.
The government launched countrywide vaccination on March 5 for priority risk groups, covering health personnel, frontline workers, and people older than 65 years or with underlying health conditions.
Eligibility was later extended to other groups, including people aged 60 and above, security personnel, market vendors, and public transport drivers.
Rwanda aims to vaccinate 30% of the population by the end of 2021 and 60% by the end of 2022.
The country has so far confirmed a total of 21,490 COVID-19 cases, with 305 deaths as of late Monday.
Some 348,926 people have been vaccinated so far.