Mogadishu (UNA-OIC) – Somalia’s Federal Ministry of Health and Human Services received on Sunday 108,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
This consignment of the vaccine was donated by the French government through the COVAX — a co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, and the World Health Organization (WHO), alongside key delivery partner United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) — in continued efforts to protect Somali people from the pandemic.
“The Government of France is committed, along with the EU and COVAX partners, to help Somalia bolster vaccination efforts so that additional frontline workers and other high-risk populations in Somalia can be protected from COVID-19,” said French Ambassador to Somalia Aline Kuster-Ménager.
“This donation is part of a global effort from France: President Macron has pledged to give 60 million doses of the vaccine before the end of 2021. This is a global pandemic and France is committed to ensuring the equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine around the world. If we are to contain the spread of COVID-19, we have to work together,” she added.
Somalia’s Federal Minister of Health and Human Services Dr. Fawziya Abikar Nur said: “The arrival of this new batch of COVID-19 vaccines comes at a critical time, as cases in Somalia are on the rise.”
“The only way to stop the spread of the virus is to get the population vaccinated. We are grateful for this latest donation from the Government of France and I call on all those eligible to get vaccinated,” she added.
Somalia will continue to prioritize frontline health and other essential workers, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions in this next phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. To date, an estimated 186,094 people in Somalia have received their first dose of the vaccine and 92,792 had both doses.
“We appreciate the commitment of the French Government to ensure the equitable delivery of COVID-19 vaccines by providing much-needed doses to Somalia,” said UNICEF Somalia Representative Dr. Mohamed Ayoya. “This timely support will be critical in increasing the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19, particularly the health workers so they can continue to provide essential health care for Somali children and their families.”
In turn, WHO Representative to Somalia Dr. Mamunur Rahman Malik said, “If we can end the pandemic in Somalia, we can end it everywhere. The country’s fragile health system, high number of its population, especially the high-risk people, still to be vaccinated can make the virus more transmissible and we risk the emergence of a new variant of the virus in the country if we cannot roll out the vaccination program against COVID-19 with speed and scale.
“The vaccines against the COVID-19 are remarkably safe and effective. These are our only hopes to end the pandemic from Somalia and elsewhere,” he stressed. “We remain thankful to the Government of France for their kind support in providing these vaccines for the people of Somalia.”