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Rwanda's Kagame is first East African leader to receive Covid vaccine

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Rwandan President Paul Kagame has been vaccinated against Covid-19, the presidency said on Thursday, making him the first head of state to receive the vaccine in East Africa, where immunisation campaigns are picking up speed.

Photos of the 63-year-old head of state and his wife Jeannette receiving the vaccine in a hospital in the capital Kigali were posted on the official Twitter account of the Rwandan presidency.

A total of 230,000 Rwandans have already been vaccinated, the presidency said.

The name of the vaccine administered to the presidential couple was not specified.

But the country has received 100,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 240,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine.

Rwanda, a country of 12 million people, plans to vaccinate 30% of its population this year and 60% by the end of 2022.

In February, Rwanda became the first East African country to vaccinate against the disease, with the Moderna vaccine, administered to those most at risk, such as health sector workers.

The country has carried out more than a million tests and detected nearly 20,000 cases, including 271 deaths, since the start of the pandemic.

Rwanda has imposed some of Africa's toughest anti-coronavirus measures, including one of the first full lockdowns on the continent in March 2020.

The capital Kigali went into total lockdown in January for two weeks, after an increase in the number of cases.

So far in East Africa, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda have started vaccination campaigns. Ethiopia, the worst-affected country in the region, will start on Saturday.

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