Sudan has received a shipment of 218 400 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as a donation from France, the health ministry and Unicef said.

The vaccines were delivered with Unicef’s support through the COVAX facility, they said in separate statements on Friday.

In March, Sudan received an initial 820 000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine made by AstraZeneca in March through COVAX and Unicef.

It also received 606 700 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines as a donation from the United States earlier in August. China also had donated quantities of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine.

More than 800 000 people in Sudan including health workers have been vaccinated since March 2021 with the first COVAX shipment and other donations, Unicef said on Friday.

Most have taken only one dose, and the new shipment will contribute to an increase in the number of people who are fully vaccinated, it added.

“The vaccinations come at a critical time as the infection numbers are climbing while the country is preparing to re-open schools after three years of numerous interruptions,” the statement said.

Sudan, with a population of 42 million, will start a second vaccination campaign in some states on Sunday after receiving new vaccines batches, the health ministry said.

As of August 26, Sudan’s health ministry reported 37 699 infections with COVID-19 and 2 831 deaths since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.

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