Cote d’Ivoire on Friday became the second country worldwide to receive COVID-19 vaccines from the humanitarian vaccine distribution programme Covax.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UN children’s fund (UNICEF) said this in a joint statement issued in Abidjan.
Some 504,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced by the Serum Institute in India arrived on Friday at the West African nation’s Abidjan International Airport, the statement said.
“This is an important step in our common fight against COVID-19,” Health Minister Eugene Aouele said.
Earlier this week, neighbouring Ghana was the first nation to receive 600,000 Covax-sponsored vaccines, all part of a massive COVID-19 vaccination campaign encompassing 20 African countries.
Cote d’Ivoire has recorded more than 32,000 COVID-19 cases and 188 deaths, while Ghana has reported more than 81,000 cases and 588 deaths.
The Covax initiative, jointly run by WHO and GAVI, aims to deliver almost 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines this year.
So far, less than two dozen African countries have started COVID-19 vaccination, according to the WHO.
Africa has recorded more than 3.8 million COVID-19 cases, 3.5 per cent of all reported cases worldwide, and more than 102,000 deaths, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control.