Thursday, 17 March 2022 09:36

More than 21 million people have received at least one dose of vaccines as Ethiopia marks one year of COVID-19 vaccination

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One year ago, Ethiopia received its first COVID-19 vaccine doses from the COVAX with a total of 2.2 million doses and lunched the COVID 19 vaccination on 13 March 2021. To date, more than 21.5 million people received at least one dose and more than 20.5 people have been fully vaccinated. Efforts are ongoing to increase vaccine uptake to reach a wider proportion of the population.

Since the first shipments, the country has so far received 45,411,750 COVID-19 vaccine doses, of which 40,696,550 are from COVAX, 1,005,200 from the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, 3,700,000 from bilateral donations, and 10,000 from CDC. A total of 28,705,008 doses of vaccines were administered since the launching.

There was vaccine hesitancy in bigger cities and towns, which attributed to the slow vaccine uptake in the beginning. Intensified advocacy, social mobilization and community awareness creation activities were undertaken by the Ministry of Health and regional health bureaus in collaboration with partners. Community conversations were held with close involvement of stakeholders, including community elders and the administrative structure, all of which helped increase vaccine uptake.

“Despite the major challenges with vaccine supplies, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health has made great efforts to increase the vaccine uptake, including expanding vaccination sites, ensuring effective use of available stocks, mobilizing communities and addressing doubts and misinformation,” said Dr Boureima Hama Sambo, WHO Representative in Ethiopia. “WHO congratulates Ethiopia on the progress to date in increasing vaccine coverage and will continue to support the government and its partners to achieve its goals of protecting the Ethiopian people.”

The Ministry of Health (MoH) conducted two rounds of nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, which significantly increased coverage. Nearly 6.2 million vaccine doses were distributed during the first round of the vaccination campaign and 19.8 million vaccine doses have been distributed for the ongoing the second-round campaign. The second-round campaign reached a record high on 18 February, three days after the launch of the campaign, when more than 2.2 million people were vaccinated on a single day – the highest single-day vaccine coverage in the WHO African Region.
WHO continues to support the country to scale up COVID-19 vaccine uptake, which will hopefully limit the rate of infection, transmission and the emergence of variants, as well as stepping up surveillance, genome sequencing capacity, increasing testing to facilitate early detection and response to cluster of cases. WHO is also continuing to support the efforts to adhere to public health and social measures until the pandemic is controlled.

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