Rwanda says begins COVID-19 vaccinations

RWANDA has commenced COVID-19 vaccinations with limited supplies of vaccines acquired through unnamed international partners and said the programme had started with frontline healthcare workers.

The central African country has been battling a surge in infections of COVID-19 which forced the government to re-impose a lockdown last month in the capital Kigali.

Authorities banned movement in and out of the city, except for essential services and for tourists.

In a tweet, Rwanda’s ministry of health said the country’s National Vaccination Program had begun “vaccinating high-risk groups, notably frontline healthcare staff, with WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines acquired through international partnerships in limited quantities”.

The initial vaccination phase, the ministry said, will be followed by a wider roll-out with supplies secured via the World Health Organization’s COVAX scheme to facilitate vaccine access by poor and middle-income countries.

Additional supplies would also be secured via the African Union (AU) window. The AU has secured more than 600 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for its member states. So far Rwanda has recorded about 17,000 cases of COVID-19 and 236 deaths.

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