Burkina Faso, one of several countries in Africa that has yet to launch a COVID-19 vaccination campaign, received its first shipment under the global vaccine-sharing scheme, COVAX, on Sunday, the Health Ministry said.
The 115 200 AstraZeneca doses were flown into the airport of the capital Ouagadougou and were welcomed by a local delegation led by Health Minister Charlemagne Ouedraogo.
“In a few weeks, other vaccines will probably arrive to supplement what we have,” Ouedraogo said.
The vaccination campaign, which will first target health workers, aims to eventually inoculate over 15 million of the West African nation’s 21.5 million citizens, the ministry said.
Some 1.5 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally, but only around 1% of them in Africa, data from the World Health Organization (WHO) found.
Earlier in May, Burkina Faso was one of a few African countries, including Tanzania and Chad, highlighted by the International Rescue Committee as not having administered a single dose while richer countries had ordered an excess supply.
The COVAX facility, backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), aims to secure 2 billion vaccine doses for lower-income countries by the end of 2021.
In the video below, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa urges world leaders to support the COVAX facility to ensure equitable access to vaccines: