Ethiopia began rolling out the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to health workers on Saturday in the country’s capital Addis Ababa.
The launch of the vaccine was attended by the World Health Organization’s country representative Boureima Hama Sambo who urged “communities and community leaders to build trust” as well as “demand for the vaccine” and to “promptly” address “misinformation.”
While health workers will be prioritised for the vaccine, one man nearby was not convinced.
“I don’t believe in this vaccine. The virus is a sign of Gods wrath upon us, so I prefer to pray,” said Sami Berhan who said he will not take the vaccine even if it is offered to him free of charge.
Ethiopia has over 172,500 cases of the coronavirus and 2,510 reported deaths according to Johns Hopkins University.
The first shipment of the AstraZeneca vaccines produced by Serum Institute of India (SII) arrived in Ethiopia on 6 March 2021 through COVAX, which facilitated the procurement and shipment of the vaccines. Subsequent shipments of 5.4 million doses as part of the current global deployment plan are expected to arrive in Ethiopia by May 2021.
Ethiopia aims to vaccinate 20% of the population by the end of 2021.