First vaccine shipment arrives in Somalia


Workers offload AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines under the COVAX scheme against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Aden Abdulle Osman Airport in Mogadishu, Somalia on March 15, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

The first shipment of 300,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Somalia on Monday, raising hopes that the government will contain the spread of the COVID-19 in the Horn of Africa nation. According to the health ministry, inoculations could start as early as Wednesday.

In a statement issued in Mogadishu, Fawziya Abikar Nur, Somalia's Minister of Health said the government has secured enough vaccines from the COVAX Facility to vaccinate at least 20 percent of the population.

"The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines happens at a critical time, as Somalia is now experiencing a new wave of the epidemic. It can be contained if all countries stand together, Somalia included," Nur said.

"I call on all health workers and people at high risk who have been prioritized to receive vaccines from this first batch, so we can protect our health workforce, other frontline workers, and high-risk people," she added.

Nur said to create awareness among families on the importance of being vaccinated, social mobilizers will be deployed to communities to encourage the use of the COVID-19 vaccine.They will also reinforce the importance of continuing COVID-19 prevention measures, including washing hands frequently, wearing face masks and observing physical distancing.

The UN office in Somalia pledged to help the government reach the most vulnerable groups and frontline workers to help contain the virus.

"The first consignment of vaccine targets, as recommended by the COVID-19 National Task Force, are the country's frontline workers, elderly and people with chronic health conditions to reduce deaths and diseases caused by COVID-19," the UN office in Somalia said in a statement Monday.

According to Nur, a total of 1,432 new cases and 76 deaths were reported in Mogadishu alone From Feb 1 to 22 this year. This, the health minister said, has been the largest increase since the May to June 2020 period, when the epidemic peaked at between 500 to 600 cases a week.

"We have strong systems in place to carry out immunization campaigns and enable the safe delivery of the COVID-19 vaccines to frontline workers. This first rollout of the vaccination will be a landmark step in Somalia's fight against COVID-19," she said.

James Swan, the UN's special representative for Somalia, said the world body is ready to support the Somali authorities in the vaccine rollout.

"We are committed to supporting the government of Somalia to reach out to the most vulnerable groups and frontline workers to ensure that spread of the virus is contained, and that Somali people recover quickly from this pandemic and the country continues making progress toward peace and stability," Swan said.

On Feb 3, Mamunur Rahman Malik, the World Health Organization head in Somalia, said the country expects to receive 1.2 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from the COVAX Facility.

2021年3月15日,在索马里首都摩加迪沙的亚丁·阿卜杜勒·奥斯曼机场,工人们正在卸载COVAX冠状病毒计划(新冠肺炎)下的阿斯利康/牛津疫苗。[图片/机构]第一批30万剂牛津-阿斯利康疫苗于周一抵达索马里,这增加了政府将控制新冠肺炎病毒在非洲之角国家传播的希望。根据卫生部的说法,接种最早可能在周三开始。索马里卫生部长法齐亚·阿比卡尔·努尔在摩加迪沙发表的一份声明中说,索马里政府已经从COVAX设施获得了足够的疫苗,可以为至少20%的人口接种疫苗。“新冠肺炎疫苗的到来发生在一个关键时刻,因为索马里正在经历新一轮的流行病。努尔说:“如果包括索马里在内的所有国家团结一致,这种局面是可以控制的。”。“我呼吁所有卫生工作者和高危人群优先接受第一批疫苗,这样我们就可以保护我们的卫生工作者、其他一线工作者和高危人群,”她补充说。努尔说,为了让家庭意识到接种疫苗的重要性,社会动员者将被部署到社区,以鼓励使用新冠肺炎疫苗。他们还将强调继续采取新冠肺炎预防措施的重要性,包括经常洗手、戴口罩和保持身体距离。联合国驻索马里办事处承诺帮助政府接触最弱势群体和一线工作人员,以帮助控制病毒。联合国驻索马里办事处周一在一份声明中表示:“根据新冠肺炎国家工作队的建议,第一批疫苗目标是该国的一线工人、老年人和慢性病患者,以减少新冠肺炎造成的死亡和疾病。”据努尔称,今年2月1日至22日,仅在摩加迪沙就报告了1432例新病例和76例死亡。卫生部长说,这是自2020年5月至6月期间以来的最大增幅,当时疫情高峰期为每周500至600例。“我们有强大的系统来开展免疫接种活动,并能够向一线工作人员安全运送新冠肺炎疫苗。首次接种疫苗将是索马里抗击新冠肺炎的里程碑式的一步,”她说。联合国索马里问题特别代表詹姆斯·斯旺(James Swan)表示,这个世界组织准备支持索马里当局推出疫苗。斯旺说:“我们致力于支持索马里政府接触最弱势群体和一线工作人员,以确保病毒的传播得到控制,索马里人民迅速从这一流行病中恢复过来,国家继续朝着和平与稳定的方向前进。”2月3日,世界卫生组织驻索马里负责人马穆努尔·拉赫曼·马利克说,索马里预计将从COVAX设施获得120万剂牛津-阿斯利康疫苗。

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