UK donates new doses of COVID-19 vaccine to DRC
Joint press release
KINSHASA, AUGUST 13, 2021 - The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has just received more than 51,000 doses of Astra Zeneca vaccine, a bilateral donation from the United Kingdom through the COVAX mechanism, a partnership between the Coalition for Innovations in Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI), Gavi, UNICEF, and WHO.
These doses are intended to provide a second injection to the majority of people who have already received their first dose as part of the vaccination campaign launched on April 19, 2021.
Scientific evidence shows that vaccination is an essential tool in the fight against COVID-19 and could save millions of lives. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the African Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that countries continue to deploy all WHO-approved vaccines, including Astra Zeneca vaccine. The DRC had decided to use the Astra Zeneca vaccine, which meets the existing storage conditions in the country (between +2° and 8°C).
"The DRC and the United Kingdom stand together to the face of this pandemic, united by their shared belief in the importance of global vaccine equity. We encourage the population to continue to get vaccinated," said the Minister of Public Health, Hygiene and Prevention, Dr. Jean-Jacques Mbungani.
The UK Ambassador to the DRC, Emily Maltman, said on receiving the new batch of vaccine: "The UK is proud to be able to ensure access to a second dose of Astra Zeneca vaccine for Congolese who have already received their first dose. This donation is an important symbol of the partnership between our two countries and the solidarity of the British people with the Congolese people. The third wave has been more virulent than the previous ones and we are not immune to a fourth wave. Vaccination is a safe way to protect against severe forms of COVID-19. We will only be safe when everyone is vaccinated.
In addition to its contributions to the COVAX initiative, the United Kingdom committed at the G7 Summit in June 2021 to share 100 million doses of vaccine by next year, including 30 million by the end of this year. The donation to the DRC is part of that commitment.
"UNICEF is a stakeholder in the COVAX mechanism and will continue to support the Congolese government in the deployment of vaccines, operational activities, including communication and community engagement to prevent a fourth wave of COVID-19 in the DRC," said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in DRC.
The DRC had received more than 1.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in March 2021, shipped through COVAX. Since the start of vaccination in the DRC on April 19, 2021, with the Astra Zeneca vaccine, 81,910 people have been vaccinated in 13 provinces through July 10, 2021, of whom 4,260 have returned for the second dose.