More lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Somalia
Additional COVID-19 vaccines to bolster vaccinations in the country.
Earlier this week, Somalia received 410,400 doses of COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Governments of France and the United States through the COVAX facility.
With a fast-moving pandemic, no one is safe until everyone is safe. These dose donations are an immediate, short term, and urgent solution to improving equitable and fair access to safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
As of 11 August 2021, Somalia has reported a total of 16,103 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 864 deaths.
Immunization is an effective intervention to halt the spread of COVID-19 but due to low vaccination coverage in Somalia, less than one per cent of its general population has been fully vaccinated. Challenges to improve vaccine uptake and to ensure a predictable supply of vaccines have further hampered the rollout of mass vaccination.
The new batch of vaccines arrives at an important juncture. “This timely support will be critical in increasing the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19, particularly the health workers so they can continue to provide essential health care for Somali children and their families,” underscored Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Somalia Representative at the arrival of the vaccines.
Besides frontline workers, people aged over 50 and those with preexisting medical conditions continue to be prioritized with the vaccinations. The single-dose vaccines will be used to particularly target the far-to-reach areas in the country and to protect the most vulnerable populations there.
WHO and UNICEF will continue supporting the Ministry of Health to ensure the safe and equitable distribution of the vaccines through the management of cold chain systems and in the training of vaccinators and the monitoring of vaccine utilization. Social mobilizers will continue be deployed to communities to encourage the uptake of the vaccine as well as the continuation of the critical preventive behaviors – hand washing, mask wearing, and physical distancing.