Addis Ababa– Today, Ethiopia has received 2.184 million doses of the Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine via the COVAX Facility. This is a historic step towards our goal to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally, in what will be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history. This delivery is part of the first wave of arrivals of the COVID-19 vaccines in Ethiopia that will continue in the coming weeks.
The Astra Zeneca vaccines licensed and manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII), were delivered by Ethiopian Airlines at Bole International Airport this morning. On hand to receive the shipment were Honourable Dr Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health, Ms Yasmin Wohabrebbi, State Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation, the WHO Representative Dr Boureima Hama Sambo, UNICEF Representative Ms Adele Khodr and development partners.
“We’re very pleased that Ethiopia is receiving its first COVAX vaccine doses,” said Charlie Whetham, Regional Head, Asia Pacific and Anglophone Africa at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “Thanks to the work of the Government of Ethiopia and of the COVAX partners, and with the support of our donors, we’re delivering on our promise to begin vaccinating vulnerable populations around the world.”
“The arrival of the vaccines in Addis Ababa is a major milestone, a turn of the tides for the better, in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to the coordinated global action for equitable vaccine distribution,” Dr Boureima Hama Sambo, WHO Representative in Ethiopia, said. “WHO will continue to work with the Government of Ethiopia and global partners to ensure that Ethiopia receives, deploys and administers adequate quantities of COVID-19 vaccines to the Ethiopian people, because as WHO has repeatedly said, no one is safe until everyone is safe.”
This is among the first shipments to countries in the WHO African Region by the COVAX Facility in its unprecedented effort to deliver at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021.
“With these vaccines, we move a step closer to normalizing life for the millions of children and their families that have been impacted by this pandemic in ways never seen in living memory,” said UNICEF Representative Adele Khodr. “We will work with the Government of Ethiopia and partners to ensure that everyone earmarked for vaccination is reached and that no deserving individual is left behind.”
This shipment contains 2,184,000 doses of Astra Zeneca vaccines. It is the first of several shipments that will be delivered to Ethiopia in accordance with global vaccine availability and the Ethiopia National Deployment and Vaccination Plan (NDVP). Vaccinations will commence in the next few days for the first phase priority groups.
Honorable Health Minister, Dr Lia Tadesse, expressed the Ethiopian Government’s appreciation of the COVAX Facility, vaccine manufacturers and global development partners. “What seemed unattainable a few months ago is now in our hands and, with it, the assurance of protecting our people, and a hope that we can beat the pandemic through cascaded and equitable vaccination of the population alongside other public health measures,” she said. “Ethiopia is proud to have contributed to this global effort representing the African Region.”
The vaccines were produced within a year of the WHO Director-General’s declaration of the novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). This is the first time in history that vaccines were produced in such a short time, a result of the tremendous efforts in vaccine research, development and manufacture. The arrival of the vaccines in Ethiopia was made possible through the COVAX Facility with the generous support of partners that spared no efforts or resources to ensure the timely and equitable distribution of vaccines across the globe.
COVAX is part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
For several months, COVAX partners have been supporting governments in readiness efforts, in preparation for COVID-19 vaccination deployment. They have been especially active in working with countries like Ethiopia so they can benefit from the Advance Market Commitment (AMC), an innovative financial mechanism to help secure global and equitable access for COVID-19 vaccines. COVAX partners supported with the development of national vaccination plans and strengthening of cold chain capacities.
COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), working in partnership with UNICEF as well as the World Bank, civil society organisations, manufacturers, and development partners. COVAX is part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
COVAX has built a diverse portfolio of vaccines suitable for a range of settings and populations, and is on track to meet its goal of delivering at least 2 billion doses of vaccine to participating countries around the globe in 2021, including at least 1.3 billion donor-funded doses to the 92 lower-income COVAX Facility participants supported by the Gavi COVAX AMC.
Source: World Health Organization