The vaccines aim to prevent the alarming spread of the virus and its devastating consequences it can cause on the country, said Health Minister, Dr. Lia Tadese, in a press briefing.
The confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ethiopia currently stands at 368, 979 and the acute respiratory disease claiming the lives of 6, 630 Ethiopians.
“We will reach up to 65 cities in all the regions and city administrations across the country to vaccinate people of over 18 years of age in the coming two weeks,” the minister said.
The recently obtained Pfizer vaccine will also be given to persons aged 12 and above, said the minister. Apart from Pfizer, health officials are offering Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and Sinopharm vaccines to the public.
To date the east African nation has administered 5.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the public while 3.67 million people have been fully vaccinated against the virus.
Dr. Lia said the level of vaccines offered to the public so far is not enough considering the size of the Ethiopian population. Authorities believe the newly launched campaign would increase the vaccination coverage and reach their first target.
“We have now about eight million doses and we will get an additional 9.6 million soon. That way, we will reach 20 million doses,” Dr. Lia said, urging the public to get vaccinated against the virus.
Apart from health centers, the vaccine is being delivered in major market places, malls, public transport centers, industry parks and other areas to increase the coverage.
Ethiopia is among South Africa, Morocco and Tunisia that have most cases of the pandemic in the continent.
In terms of the caseload, southern Africa is the most affected region, followed by the northern and eastern parts of the continent, while central Africa is the least affected region in the continent, it was noted.