Somalia’s fight against COVID-19 received a major boost on Thursday as the country received 302,400 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine through the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility.
The latest arrival is the first batch of any single-dose vaccines to be received by the Horn of African nation.
“In this race against time to end this pandemic and vaccinate people, it is critical that as many safe and effective vaccines as possible are available to Somalia’s general public,” said Somalia’s Federal Minister of Health. Dr. Fawziya Abikar Nur after receiving the vaccines on behalf of his country.
Somalia launched its mass vaccination campaign in March, initially targeting groups considered to be at high risk.
By Thursday, the country had fully vaccinated 93,458 people of its over 15 million population.
The arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines comes following an announcement by the African Union that it would deliver some 220 million doses of the vital jab to member states, with the potential to distribute an additional 180 million doses in the future.
Some 6.4 million doses are expected to be shipped in August. Monthly shipments will continue and be continually ramped up, with a target of delivering about 50 million vaccines by the end of December.
Somalia has so far recorded 16, 103 COVID-19 infections with 864 deaths, according to the latest data from the health ministry.