Africa’s most Covid hit country South Africa began its vaccination drive mostly targeting those in the health care sector.
South Africa has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths on the continent with 1,514,815 confirmed infections, 50,271 deaths, and 1,433,320 recoveries recorded.
South Africa is still recovering from the second wave of the virus is now fighting a new variant.
"Especially us, the frontline workers, witnessed how the second wave really devastated the society. So I wouldn't like to go through that again. So I'd really encourage everyone to give it a chance and vaccinate so that the frontliners are protected. Before we go and protect our community, we ourselves have to be quite protected," Judith Mokgaudi, Infection control manager at George Mukhari Hospital said.
Meanwhile, Mali receives its first batch of Covid-19 vaccines, via the Covax scheme put in place by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the benefit of poorer nations.
The first batch of 396,000 doses of the Anglo-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine was received at the airport by Mali's President of the post-coup transition, Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane in the presence of representatives from the WHO and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
"This is important for Mali, the arrival today of the first delivery of about 400,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, produced by the laboratory in India, which is why you have seen the Indian ambassador here as well. That makes up around the first third of the vaccines that are going to arrive in the next two months, which will be 1,300,000 for Mali, part of a big global solidarity effort of 2,000,000,000 doses for 82 countries," Sylvie Fouet, Mali UNICEF representative told reporters.
According to Malian authorities, just over 8 million doses are expected by the end of March, and the country’s vaccination campaign is set to start in April.
For the campaign, Mali got financial contributions from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization and the World Bank
Rwanda, on Wednesday, received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines through the World Health Organization’s global vaccine sharing scheme, COVAX initiative.
Rwanda targets to vaccinate 30% of its population by the end of 2021 and 60% by the end of 2022, according to Health Ministry.
Rwanda targets some 171,480 people from risk groups, including health personnel, frontline workers, the elderly aged 65 years and above, as well as those with underlying health conditions
Nigeria on Friday started its COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
Cyprian Ngong, a senior registrar at the National Hospital, became the country’s first person to receive the vaccine in the capital Abuja.
A total of 3.94 million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine were shipped into the country on Tuesday.
Out of the 10 million vaccines that have been delivered globally under Covax, Nigeria has received four million.
There are over 3.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent, with more than 3 million recoveries and 92,000 deaths cumulatively.