NAIROBI, March 29 (Reuters) – Ethiopia on Monday said it would receive 300,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses from China’s state-backed China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) on Tuesday.
The Sinopharm doses are the first shots Ethiopia has secured outside the global COVAX vaccine-sharing initiative, Health Minister Lia Tadesse told Reuters in a text message.
Ethiopia is struggling to administer shots and tame infections that have spiked.
In the past month, it has recorded a 26% increase in coronavirus infections and deaths rose by 18%, health ministry data shows. On Thursday, Africa’s disease control body, the Africa CDC, said Ethiopia had reported the highest number of new cases in the last week of any country on the continent.
With a population of over 110 million, the Horn of Africa nation has recorded 200,563 infections and 2,801 deaths since its first case was announced in March last year.
On Monday, Johnson & Johnson said it had agreed to supply up to 400 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the African Union (AU) from the third quarter of 2021.
On March 7, Ethiopia received nearly 2.2 million doses of the AstraZeneza vaccine through COVAX.
In February the minister said Ethiopia hoped to inoculate at least a fifth of the country’s 110 million people by the end of the year. (Reporting by Nairobi newsroom Editing by Maggie Fick and Barbara Lewis)
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