New Delhi: As part of the global COVAX initiative, the African country of Rwanda received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday (March 3, 2021). Rwanda received 240,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with another 102,960 doses of the Pfizer vaccine expected to arrive later today.

The vaccine doses will be administered to the most vulnerable citizens in the country on Friday. With two doses of the vaccine to be administered as many as 171,480 people have been identified as priority risk groups, including frontline workers, people above 65 years and people with underlying health conditions.

Health Minister Daniel Ngamije said that the target is to vaccinate at least 30 per cent of the population by the end of this year, and further 60 per cent 2022 end.

Rwanda is receiving vaccines for free through the COVAX initiative, which is led by the WHO, but the scheme has been hampered due to the severely limited global supply of doses and logistical problems.

The initiative was aimed to ensure fair access to COVID-19 vaccines by low- and middle-income countries.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said the overall campaign to secure vaccines has been extremely uneven, with most worldwide doses administered in a small number of richer countries.

Rwanda has recorded 19,111 cases and 265 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

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