ZIMBABWE will soon gain 984 000 doses of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines through the World Health Organisation (WHO)-led Covax initiative.
The country will receive the vaccines between this month and May in a major boost to the ongoing first phase of the inoculation exercise which commenced nationwide last week.
This was revealed by Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) chief executive, Richard Hatchett, during a WHO global virtual press conference yesterday.
Ghana became the first African nation to receive the Covax vaccines following the delivery of 600 000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs last month.
Besides Ghana, at least another 141 nations are receiving the vaccines after WHO vowed to ensure there is an equal distribution of Covid-19 doses between rich self-financing nations and the Third World.
“The only way we can end this pandemic is through uniting as countries and helping each other when there is need, the plan is to have 11 million doses distributed to countries this week,” said Hatchett.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus assured all the nations that have received and are yet to receive the Covax vaccines of their safety.
“We thank the president of Ghana and his wife for being the first people to get the Covax jabs in their country, to give confidence to their people that the vaccines are safe as we have also approved of their safety and efficacy,” Tedros said.
Unicef executive director Henrietta Fore told the virtual conference that the Covax programme will be a mammoth logistic operation.
“Unicef is currently working with shipping and airline companies, to see how they could transport the vaccines.
“Our plan to deliver Covid-19 vaccines will be the largest operation of its kind in history. To make it a success, we’re working closely with shipping, airline and logistics leaders. Together, we can deliver these life-changing vaccines quickly, safely and fairly,” Fore said.
Zimbabwe began its first phase of the national inoculation drive last week after receiving 200 000 SinoPharm doses from the Chinese government last month.
The country is set to receive more doses from China, Russia and India with authorities targeting to inoculate at least 10 million people.
At the moment, 21 456 frontline workers including those from the health, security, media, immigration and customs sectors have been vaccinated.