The first coronavirus disease vaccine injections taking place at Eka Kotebe COVID-19 Hospital on March 13, 2021 in the presence of high-level government officials and other notable Ethiopians. Frontline health workers were first to take the jab.
The first COVID-19 positive case and vaccine were registered in Ethiopia on the same day of March 13 in 2020 and 2021, respectively, whether accidental or planned. The world seemed doomed by the invincible virus since the beginning of 2020. After unprecedented death, chaos, and ultimate test to science, new vaccines were created for the new pandemic.“The vaccines work by training and preparing the body’s natural defenses—the immune system—to recognize and fight off targeted viruses and bacteria. If the body is later exposed to those disease-causing germs after vaccination, the body is immediately ready to destroy them, preventing illness,” stated the World Health Organization (WHO).
By the end of February 2021, at least seven different vaccines across three platforms have been rolled out globally. Highest priority is given to vulnerable populations in all countries. Over 200 additional vaccine candidates are being developed, of which more than 60 are undergoing clinical trials.
On March 6, 2021, the first shipment of 2.2 million vaccine doses, out of the planned 7.62 million doses to be given in Ethiopia by May 2021, arrived at Bole International Airport. Facilitated through COVAX, the AstraZeneca vaccine received by Ethiopia is produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII). Ethiopia is a beneficiary of COVAX, a grouping of 92 low- and middle-income countries where the WHO, UNICEF, the vaccine alliance Gavi, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) are actively collaborating and seeking financial assistance to procure and provision COVID-19 vaccines, accessories, and consultancy.
Although schools, businesses, and the leisure and hospitality sector have resumed operations in Ethiopia, the pandemic’s spread is soaring. As of March 19, 2021, deaths have exceeded 2,600 and positive cases are above 181,000 from 2.2 million tests. Over 145,000 have recovered.
Ethiopia aims to vaccinate 20Pct of its population by the end of 2021 and has already requested ETB16 billion (USD405 million) in aid from the World Bank.
According to the African Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the cost of vaccinating 60Pct of the African population will cost USD10 to 15 billion. The African Export-Import Bank has already approved USD2 billion as a pre-order guarantee to its members to purchase the vaccine. EBR
9th Year • Mar 16 – Apr 15 2021 • No. 96