Rwanda is expected to receive over 1.1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine in the first and second quarter of 2021 from the COVAX facility, a global initiative that aims at accelerating fair and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines for every country.
COVAX published On February 3, its first interim distribution forecast for the vaccines, disseminating information on the projected early availability of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the first quarter of 2021 and the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine candidate in the first half of 2021 to participating countries, among which is Rwanda.
996,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 102,960 of the Pfizer one have been allocated to Rwanda. This is according to the forecast.
Based on more information disseminated by COVAX, the published distribution for AstraZeneca vaccines is indicative, based on current communication of estimated availability from the manufacturers of the vaccine.
A statement from COVAX facility read “In this regard, it is likely the distribution may need to be adjusted in light of circumstances that are difficult to anticipate and variables that are constantly evolving.”
“Nevertheless, COVAX partners believe the publication of this information, which has now been shared with all economies participating in the COVAX Facility, marks an important first step in providing governments and public health leaders with the information they need to put in place practical steps for the provision of early doses and a successful national roll-out of vaccines,” the statement added.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has also not yet been granted Emergency Use Listing (EUL) by the World Health Organisation, although it is currently undergoing evaluation processes.
Less of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine has however been allocated to the facility participants, reason being that COVAX currently anticipates fewer doses (1.2 million) in Q1 of 2021.
The initiative has however informed that additional volumes of doses of the vaccine will be available in the second quarter and beyond, per the signed advance purchase agreement between The Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) and Pfizer-BioNTech for up to 40 million doses.
Meanwhile in early January, the Rwanda Biomedical Centre said not only is the country ready to receive its first batch of vaccine doses, but it is also ready for immediate commencement of the vaccination exercise.
Upon arrival of the vaccines, the first phase of the inoculation process is expected to benefit people at high risk of the virus. This includes front-line workers in healthcare and people above 65.
The next group to benefit are those whose immunity can be easily compromised with existing ailments such as cancer patients, people with diabetes, HIV and other serious diseases.