Somalia on Sunday received 108,000 additional doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to help intensify the fight against the pandemic in the country.
The vaccines were donated by the French government through the COVAX Facility in continued efforts to protect Somalia’s population from COVID-19.
Fawziya Abikar Nur, Somali Minister of Health and Human Services said the arrival of the new batch of COVID-19 vaccines comes at a critical time as cases in Somalia are on the rise.
Since the outbreak began in March 2020, Somalia has reported a total of 15,257 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 including 789 deaths as of July 24.
Nur said Somalia will continue to prioritize frontline health and other essential workers, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions in this next phase of the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.
An estimated 186,094 people in Somalia have to date received their first dose of the vaccine and 92,792 have received their second, the health ministry said.
Owing to low vaccination coverage in the country where less than 1 percent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated, the country faces the dual challenge of improving the uptake amongst its general population as well as ensuring an equitable and predictable supply of COVID-19 vaccines to support an effective rollout of mass vaccination.
Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Somalia Representative said the timely support will be critical in increasing the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19, particularly the health workers so they can continue to provide essential health care for Somali children and their families.
The WHO and UNICEF said they will continue to support the Ministry of Health to ensure the safe and equitable distribution of the vaccines through the management of cold chain systems and in the training of vaccinators and in the monitoring of vaccine utilization.
The two UN agencies said efforts will also continue to promote the safety and uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine.