ARUSHA, 23 February 2021 – Three of the six member states of the East African Communitiy (EAC) have launched COVID-19 inoculation campaigns.
The EAC inter-governmental organization headquartered in Arusha, Tanzania, brings together Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
Rwanda became the first EAC member country to begin administering COVID-19 vaccines last February 11, relying on an initial 1,000 doses received from manufacturers of the Moderna-initiated vaccine.
The Rwandan government and its peers across EAC have said they will prioritize the inoculation of health sector workers, the elderly, those with underlying health conditions and essential workers, such as teachers
Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda expect to receive their first batch of a total 39 million doses by the end of March 2021.
The 39 million doses will come from the 270 million doses secured by the African Union (AU) and due to be distributed through the Africa Medical Supplies Platform on behalf of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Rwanda will received at least 996,000 doses of AstraZeneca and 102,960 doses of the Pfizer vaccine before the end of March 2021.
The youngest EAC member state, South Sudan, exepcts to procure and receive its first consignment of more than 800,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March 2021.
While reports of vaccine orders secured or expected offer much hope, a more careful scrunity and cross-checking of information provided by EAC member countries suggest that some of the projected numbers cannot be verified.
The Ugandan health ministry last February 2 said Uganda had ordered 18 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and expects 40 percent of the doses to be delivered by the Serum Institute of India before the end of March 2021.
However, when the gloibal wire service, Reuters, crosschecked the information with the manufacturer, the latter said no such deal had been reached.
South Sudan’s health ministry does not cofirm that Africa’s youngest nation has secured 800,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine doses.
Rather, Juba says it intends to purchase the vaccines.
Whereas Kenya’s Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said in late January 2021 that the Kenyan government had ordered 24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine doses and expected the first batch to arrive in the second week of February, no doses had been received as of Tuesday, 23 February 2021.
As of Monday, nearly 170,000 COVID-19 cases had been confirmed across the four EAC member countries resulting in a total of 2,222 fatalities, according to latest data.
Uganda had confirmed 40,019 COVID-19 cases and recorded 328 deaths. Kenya had detected 103,000 COVID-19 cases resulting in 1,795 confirmed fatalities. Rwanda had confirmed 18,199 cases with 25 deaths. South Sudan has recorded 5,413 cases with 74 deaths.
The tLS said the government would be complying with requirements of Articles 14 and 18 of the Tanzanian Constitution on the right to information.