The Democratic Republic of Congo will start its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on April 19 with 1.7 million AstraZeneca doses it received from the COVAX global vaccines sharing scheme after delaying the rollout for more than a month.

Congo received the vaccines on March 2 and was expected to begin the inoculation campaign almost immediately but delayed rollout after several European countries suspended the use of the shots.

A government statement late on Tuesday said a task force had determined that the AstraZeneca vaccines already available in the country presented no risks to the population.

In early March, a spokesperson for Congo’s health ministry told Reuters, “We hear that in Europe there are several countries that have suspended the vaccine. We are going to check to know more about this problem.”

Congo has reported 28 542 infections and 745 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began.