COVID-19: Angola, first country in Eastern, Southern Africa region to receive COVAX vaccines

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Angola on Tuesday received 624,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine from the Sérum Institute of India as part of the COVAX initiative, which aims to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines against COVID-19 worldwide.

With this first batch of vaccines, estimated at about 10 per cent of the country’s first phase vaccine needs, the Government will immunize health professionals, vulnerable people and those with complicated comorbidities, a UN statement said.

According to WHO Regional Director, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, with the arrival of vaccines provided by the COVAX initiative to fight COVID-19 in Angola, the continent marks another important step towards fairer access to vaccines.

“With this shipment, the first Portuguese-speaking country in Africa accesses this essential tool in the fight against the virus.

“Each new vaccine delivery marks a breakthrough in the fight against this pandemic that has held our lives hostage for too long.

“WHO teams in the region and partners have been supporting countries in planning and preparing for the complex challenges of such a massive vaccination campaign.

“We now hope to see these plans be put in place with an effective and efficient release of the vaccine,” Dr. Moeti said.

Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, emphasised that “COVAX’s mission is to help end the acute phase of the pandemic as soon as possible, allowing global equitable access to vaccines against COVID-19”.

The COVAX initiative is playing a crucial role in global efforts to ensure fair, accessible and equitable access to vaccines against COVID-19 to the world’s poorest countries, the most marginalised communities and the most vulnerable populations.

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WHO Representative in Angola, Dr. Djamila Cabral, said that “the delivery of vaccines to Angola represents the manifestation of international solidarity and a stronger hope to save lives, and to help economies and livelihoods recover more quickly”.

“The start of the vaccination campaign offers us a light at the end of the tunnel for the protection of populations and also, an appeal to continue to work together to strengthen prevention measures against COVID-19, in particular compliance with biosafety standards, screening, and treatment, as well as improving access to health services and quality.” (PANA/NAN)

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