On Sunday, February 14, 2021, the Rwandan Ministry of Health announced the official launch of the national Covid-19 vaccination program. The country ranked first in Africa in terms of effective management of the disease, decided to use the vaccine to definitively curb the chain of transmission of the virus. As in many countries that have started the vaccination campaign, Rwanda will also vaccinate first health workers and the elderly.
Rwanda embarks on the vaccination campaign with some caution. Only 1,000 doses of the American Moderna vaccine, approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), will be used initially. Then, in the coming weeks, other doses will extend the vaccination operation that targets the majority of the population. In a statement, the Ministry of Health announced that “this initial phase will be followed by a wider deployment this month with supplies expected from the Covax initiative and the AU African Medical Supplies Platform.”
The priority targets in this first phase will be: health care workers, particularly those in treatment centres and intensive care units, people over the age of 65 and with other diseases such as diabetes, cancer, the AIDS. In addition to this category, inmates who are in remand and correctional facilities as well as security forces will be taken into account from the first days of the vaccination program.
With a view to the correct execution of the second phase, Rwanda will receive at least 996,000 doses of AstraZeneca and 102,960 doses of Pfizer vaccine between February and March 2021. Rwanda’s Covid-19 vaccination plan is ready with the infrastructure, protocols and staff in place,” the Ministry of Health said in the same statement.
Rwanda, taken as a reference in the fight against the transmission and virulence of the virus, has 17,484 positive cases and 239 deaths.