Sudan : First delivery of COVID-19 vaccines > 800,000 doses
As of the 3rd of March 2021, Sudan becomes the first country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to receive Covid-19 vaccines via the COVAX facility. Over 800,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine touched down at the Khartoum International Airport with UNICEF’s support through COVAX.
The COVAX facility is a coalition co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi, the Global Vaccines Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), with the aim of ensuring equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to countries regardless of their income.
This follows the delivery of 4.5 Metric Tons of syringes and safety boxes towards the end of February 2021, which is vital for the achievement of safe and effective vaccination, as well as reducing risk of infection from blood-borne diseases due to syringe reuse. Similarly, a vaccination strategy that aspires to train vaccinators, survey possible harmful effects and ensure vaccine safety has been set by WHO as they actively work with national authorities.
The nationwide vaccination campaign prioritizes the vaccination of healthcare workers and individuals above the age of 45 with chronic medical conditions, those living in areas with high transmission or “anticipated” high transmission.
Coronavirus has thus far infected more than 28,500 in Sudan and resulted in the associated deaths of over 1,900, according to official data. The pandemic has further exacerbated the fragile state of the country that continues to suffer economically considering the alarming inflating and currency shortages.
Fortunately, the first batch consisted of 828,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which are planned to cover 414,000 frontline health care workers across the country, according to health officials. Moreover, Sudan has secured a total of 3.4 million doses through COVAX, which are expected to arrive in batches through to the end of September.
Dr. Omer Mohamed Elnagieb, Sudan's Minister of Health, highly appreciated all partners and vigilant efforts that created the possibility for Sudan to become the first country across the region to receive vaccines against COVID-19 and further urges those who fit the eligibility criteria to register for vaccination immediately. “The vaccines are a critical part of controlling the spread of the virus in Sudan and eventually return to normalcy,” he stated.