Ethiopia has commenced plans to inoculate 20% of the Ethiopian population against the COVID-19 pandemic by the end of 2021, the country’s top health experts have said.
While speaking to reporters, Muluken Yohannes, a senior adviser to the Health Ministry, said in order to achieve the require vaccination process, a national coordinating committee and a task force have been set up by the government.
He said the country is also actively involved in a unique global alliance representing more than two-thirds of the world, to ensure that vaccines equitably get to developing nations and at reasonable cost.
The alliance includes organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Gates Foundation, and 191 countries to raise financial support for accelerated research and development, production, and globally-equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
The East African country is also a member of COVAX AMC, a coalition of 92 low- and middle-income countries, seeking financial assistance for the production COVID-19 vaccines, accessories and help in delivery.
“Ethiopia has already requested the aid of 16 billion birrs ($ 405 million) from the World Bank. This amount may not be enough because the COVID-19 inoculation plan involved several works to be carried out,” the adviser said.
A provision of $2 billion has already been made by Africa Exim Bank as a pre-order guarantee to its members to purchase the vaccine.
Muluken said, on e of the major issues they have as regards procurement is the issue of logistics.
“We also need an adequate supply of all the accessories and auxiliaries necessary to conduct the vaccination successfully, such as syringes, gloves, sanitizers, and many other inputs,” he added.
He said deliberating on the logistical aspect as well as putting together other key components such as creating awareness about the vaccine, crisis management, and framing regulations, are currently ongoing between the national committee and the task force.
Ethiopia has made plans to import 42 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine soon, and intends to commence inoculation from March or April.
Health officials in the country have said inoculation of just 20% of the Ethiopian population will not lead to herd immunity and total insulation from the virus.
They say only after the vaccination of 60-70% of the country’s population can total insulation be achieved.
According to The African Union Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, the plan for the continent was to achieve herd immunity by the end of 2021.