War-ravaged Somalia has begun administering first shots of the COVID-19 vaccines to its citizens.
The inoculations started on Tuesday with Health Minister Fowsiya Abikar Nur receiving a jab of the AstraZenica vaccine. The kick-off exercise was conducted in public in order to reassure the nation about the safety of the medication.
On Monday, The war-torn Horn of Africa nation, which has recently experienced a surge in coronavirus cases, received its first shipment of 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the international COVAX initiative to ensure that low- and middle-income countries receive vaccines.
Speaking at the Martini hospital in the capital Mogadishu, where the vaccination ceremony occurred, Mrs. Nur urged the public to embrace the vaccines to stem infections in the country of 15 million people and one of the continent’s weakest health systems.
“… There are immunisation programmes going on all over Somalia. Yes, some areas are not accessible…. Our duty is to try to convince people to come and seek these services,” she said.
Only five people, including the minister and two employees of the World Health Organization, received a shot in the arm at Tuesday’s event.
It was not immediately clear why such a small number received the jab.
The respiratory disease has killed a growing number of prominent Somalis, including a former president.
Somalia has so far recorded 8,946 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including at least 349 deaths, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.