Yemen receives first batch of COVID-19 vaccine

The war-ravaged nation of Yemen has received 360,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). The AstraZeneca vaccines licensed and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India will enable health workers and other priority populations vulnerable to COVID-19 to be protected against the virus.

UNICEF Representative, Philippe Duamelle, and WHO Representative, Dr Adham Ismail, took delivery of the vaccines in Aden, together with the Minister of Health and Population Dr Qasim Buhaibeh, and the Deputy Minister of Public Health and Population Dr Ali Alwaleedi. The 360 000 doses arrived together with 13 000 safety boxes and 1 300 000 syringes that are critical for the safe and effective roll-out of the vaccination campaign. This first batch is part of 1.9 million doses that Yemen will initially receive throughout 2021.

“The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine doses is a critical moment for Yemen,” said UNICEF Representative Philippe Duamelle. “As COVID-19 continues to claim lives around the world, Yemen now has the capacity to protect those most at risk, including health workers, so that they can safely continue to provide life-saving interventions for children and families. Vaccines work, vaccines save lives, now let’s start getting people vaccinated,” he added.

“This shipment represents an important step in the fight against COVID-19 in Yemen. It will help save lives, including those at highest risk of serious disease, and will help protect the health system. These safe and effective vaccines will be a gamechanger, but for the foreseeable future we must continue wearing masks, physically distance and avoid crowds,” said Dr Adham Ismail, WHO Representative in Yemen.

“We are delighted Yemen has received its first COVAX vaccine doses and we look forward to the launch of the vaccination campaign,” said Rehan Hafiz, Senior Country Manager Yemen, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “Thanks to the work of the Government of Yemen and of the COVAX partners, and with the support of our donors, we are now able to protect our most vulnerable populations. Our work is only just beginning but the arrival of the first COVAX COVID-19 doses is a major milestone for Yemen.”

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