Ethiopia says it has secured 9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines till April

FILE PHOTO: Ethiopia’s Minister of Health Lia Tadesse is seen inside a medical ward under preparation to treat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients at St. Peter’s hospital on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia May 2, 2020. Picture taken May 2, 2020. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia has secured nine million doses of COVID-19 vaccines up until April and hopes to inoculate at least a fifth of its 110 million people by the end of the year, the health minister said on Tuesday

“For now up to April we have been allocated close to nine million doses,” Lia Tadesse said.

“Within this year we want to make sure we get at least 20% of the population,” she told Reuters.

Ethiopia was open to possible donations of vaccines, Lia added, and said the country was not doing any procurement of doses independently but only through the COVAX facility.

COVAX is co-led by the GAVI alliance which secures vaccines for poor countries, the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the U.N. Children’s Fund.

African countries are scrambling to obtain COVID-19 vaccine supplies for their 1.3 billion people even as rich nations elsewhere in the world race ahead with mass immunisation campaigns. Only a handful of nations on the continent have begun administering vaccines.

On Tuesday, Lia did not specify which vaccines Ethiopia will be receiving through COVAX.

“We are not getting any specific vaccine we are getting them based on the availability of the COVAX facility,” she told Reuters.

More than 142,000 Ethiopians have tested positive for COVID-19 with more than 2,100 dying from the disease, according to WHO data.

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