Côte d’Ivoire to begin COVID-19 vaccination campaign in March

A shipment of COVID-19 vaccines distributed by the COVAX Facility arrives in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Friday Feb. 25, 2021. Ivory Coast is the second country in the world after Ghana to receive vaccines acquired through the United Nations-backed COVAX initiative with a delivery of 504,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India. (AP Photo/ Diomande Ble Blonde)

Côte d’Ivoire will begin its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Monday, the first day of March, after receiving more than its first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, according to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.).

A shipment of COVID-19 vaccines distributed by the COVAX Facility arrives in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. (AP Photo/ Diomande Ble Blonde)

On Friday, Côte d’Ivoire received 504,000 doses of the vaccine in the commercial capital Abidjan becoming the second country in the world to receive a shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from the global COVAX initiative.

The first COVAX shipment was sent to Ghana on Wednesday, marking the beginning of the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history, the W.H.O. said.

The W.H.O. said frontline health workers and essential staff in the country will be among the first to receive the vaccine.

The start of the campaign will make Côte d’Ivoire the first African country to roll out COVAX-funded vaccines, the global health agency added.

The COVAX scheme is a global pooled procurement mechanism for COVID-19 vaccines, which is co-led by the W.H.O.

Concern has been rife for several months about the availability of a vaccine to less developed and poor countries, particularly in Africa. Several leading personalities have called for the rest of the world not to leave Africa behind in the distribution of vaccines.

Côte d’Ivoire has reported more than 32,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 180 deaths, according to figures from the W.H.O.