In February 2021, Rwanda started Covid-19 vaccination program with high-risk groups, notably frontline healthcare staff and expected to be followed by a wider roll out.
The World Health organization (WHO) approved COVID-19 vaccines were received through existing agreements with partners other than the official equitable vaccine sharing initiative known as COVAX and the African Union’s Africa Medical Supplies Platform.
Rwanda is among four African countries expected to receive the first batch of vaccines through COVAX initiative. These include Cape Verde, Tunisia and South Africa. Rwanda recently received five ultra-cold freezers with the capacity to store all types of Coronavirus vaccines.
The fridges can store vaccines at -70 and -86 degrees Celsius. It is expected that Rwanda will have received 1,098,960 vaccine dozes by February 2021 to vaccinate 549 480 people.
It is expected that health practitioners, patients with incurable diseases like blood pressure, diabetes and asthma among other respiratory diseases would be among the first group to be vaccinated in the first phase along with elders above 65 years and people whose line of duty puts them in a susceptible position.
The cost to vaccinate 60% of Rwandans is estimated at US$124 million (Rwf 121 billion).