FRI 26 FEB, 2021-theGBJournal- Cote d’Ivoire Friday took delivery of 504,000 doses of the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine and 505,000 syringes, becoming the second African country to receive the vaccines from the COVAX Facility, in an unprecedented effort to provide at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021.
COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and is led jointly by Gavi, WHO, CEPI, and UNICEF which is leading vaccine procurement and delivery operations.
The vaccine doses were received at Abidjan International Airport by Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Health and Public Hygiene, Dr Eugène Aka Aouélé, accompanied by members of the COVAX Facility – the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – in addition to the United Nations Development System (UNDS) Resident Coordinator in Côte d’Ivoire and the ambassadors of the European Union countries, whose funding enabled manufacturing, transport and distribution of the vaccine.
The vaccines transported by UNICEF came from India (Mumbai), and were transported through Dubai where a shipment of syringes from a Gavi-funded stockpile was collected from UNICEF’s regional supply centre. UNICEF strives to monitor vaccines throughout the supply chain, from the factory gate to the port of entry in each country.
“Côte d’Ivoire is pleased and proud to be the second African country after Ghana to receive vaccines provided through the COVAX Facility. This is an important step in our shared fight against the common enemy that is COVID-19. The pandemic has taken a heavy toll around the world and our country is no exception. More than 32,000 people living in Côte d’Ivoire have been infected with the disease, and 188 have died. This is a tragedy. I would like to honour their memory. The vaccines we have received today will enable us to contain the pandemic and improve the health of our population,” said the Ivorian Minister of Health and Public Hygiene.
The West African county is expected to launch its COVID19 vaccination campaign on Monday 1 March, making it the first African country to roll out the COVAX funded vaccines, ahead of Ghana, the first in the continent to take delivery of the COVAX funded vaccines.
Health officials say frontline health workers and essential staff will be among the first to be vaccinated.
More than 32,000 people living in Côte d’Ivoire have been infected with the disease, and 188 have died.
“This is an important moment for Côte d’Ivoire, the African continent and COVAX, bringing us all closer to our common goal of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines,” said Gavi’s Managing Director, Marie-Ange Saraka-Yao. “Our work on the global roll-out has only just begun, but Gavi is proud to see COVAX and AMC [Advance Market Commitment] become a reality with this first wave of deliveries which will protect the most vulnerable, including health workers fighting on the front line against this pandemic.”
“As the first donor to the COVAX Facility with a contribution of €2.3 billion, “Team Europe” (the European Union, its Member States and the European Investment Bank) is proud to have facilitated access for the people of Côte d’Ivoire to the first COVID-19 vaccines. This is a tangible sign of solidarity, which will be gradually extended to other African countries,” said European Union Ambassador, Jobst von Kirchmann.-With unicef release