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EAC partner states administer 7.2 million Covid-19 doses

EAC partner states administer 7.2 million Covid-19 doses

PARTNER States within the East African Community (EAC) have administered more than seven million vaccination doses of Covid-19, according to the regional recent update.

The findings by Statista, a German Company specialising in market and consumer data, indicated the regional economic bloc had by September 6th this year, administered 7.2million doses, as the region continues to grapple with the deadly virus.

Kenya commands the lion share of the administered doses, with over 2.8 million coronavirus jabs, since the neighbouring country kicked off the immunisation campaign in March this year, after the arrival of vaccines from the Covax Facility.

Rwanda comes second with 2.5million shots already administered in the country.

The hilly country began its Covid-19 vaccination programme in March, using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, making it the first African nation to administer the drug.

A total of 1.3million vaccination doses were administered in Uganda, as of early this month, added the update by Statista.

In addition to the 128,000 AstraZeneca doses donated by Norway at the end of August, the United Kingdom last month donated nearly 300,000 doses.

China recently donated 300,000 doses of its Sinovac vaccine, and last Monday a batch of 647,000 Moderna doses donated by the United States arrived in Uganda.

Tanzania, which is also home to the EAC Secretariat, had seen the number of people receiving the Johnson & Johnson doses rising to 345,000 which is an increase of more than 20,000 people in a week.

According to the Chief Government Spokesperson Gerson Msigwa, the jump was equivalent to 34 per cent of the 1,058,400 jabs that were introduced in July this year, under the COVAX programme.

Msigwa noted that the government intends to roll out the vaccines in rural areas as well, adding that it will also consider increasing the number of health centres from the existing 500 to facilitate easy access of vaccination points.

The world’s newest nation of South Sudan had administered 59,865 doses of Covid-19, according to the findings.

Burundi, which is yet to start vaccinating its nationals, is preparing to accept its first Covid-19 vaccines after becoming one of the last countries in the world to embrace them.

The country’s Health Minister Thaddee Ndikumana last month announced the government reversal last adding that the vaccines would arrive with the support of the World Bank.

Last month, EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki challenged the regional private sector to take a leading role in sensitising the public on Covid-19 vaccines.

Dr Mathuki noted that there was poor knowledge towards the jabs, particularly in the region.

“The general knowledge of the coronavirus vaccine is very important to improve public acceptance and decrease vaccine hesitancy in confronting the disease,” observed the EAC Secretary General yesterday while responding to questions from a section of the Private Sector community, at a CEO Breakfast Roundtable Engagement on EAC Regional Integration.

He further warned that a low turnout for the jabs could scare away tourists and investors from the bloc.

His appeal comes as the EAC registered a mere two per cent Covid-19 vaccination rate.

This is unlike in Europe and Asia, where vaccination rates stand at 70 and 60 per cent respectively.

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Author: EDWARD QORRO in Arusha

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