Who will be priority beneficiaries of Covid-19 vaccine in Rwanda?

Leave a comment / By: manifel / 07 October, 2020 10:18:23AM
Who will be priority beneficiaries of Covid-19 vaccine in Rwanda?

Health workers in hospitals, people aged above 65 years, and those with chronic diseases will be priority beneficiaries of the Covid-19 vaccine in Rwanda once secured, said Dr. Daniel Ngamije, the Minister of Health.

So far, several vaccine candidates are in the final stage of human testing, before being approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for use. 

Before being certified by the WHO for general use, vaccines undergo a number of stages of testing which include pre-clinical stage (where researchers give the vaccine to animals to see if it triggers an immune response), and the clinical stage (research investigations in which people volunteer to be given the vaccine that is being tested). 

Clinical trials usually take place in three phases that vary in terms of the number of people who volunteer for every stage. 

The last stage involves thousands of people.

According to Ngamije, Rwanda has a good partnership with Gavi, a Swedish non-governmental organization whose two vaccines are at the final stage of clinical testing and have shown promising results so far.

“We are optimistic that if the last stage of the two vaccines goes well and WHO approves any of the two, we will be able to receive it not later than March next year,” he said.

He went on to say: “Due to the nature of the pandemic, we will prioritize the health workers in hospitals, old people aged above 65 years, and people with chronic diseases. The trio are the most vulnerable to the pandemic, but as more doses become available, we will also give the vaccine to other groups of people.”

Ngamije noted that the trio make up 20 percent of people who are in need of the Covid-19 vaccine in Rwanda during the first phase.

However, due to the fact that Covid-19 is a global pandemic and therefore its vaccine is needed by every country, it is almost impossible for everyone to get it at the same time.

Nonetheless, he added, in partnership with the African Union we plan to secure other doses of the vaccine so that other frontline workers who are at high risk of contracting the Virus may also receive it.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Rwanda in mid-March, the country has confirmed a total of 4,866 Covid-19 cases of whom 3,216 have already recovered.

The country’s Covid-19 death toll so far stands at 29 people.

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