KIGALI, 16 January 2021 – Rwanda is now ready to receive, store and administer COVID-19 vaccines, officials said Friday, a day after Rwanda hit its single highest daily cases.

One hundred and ninety-four (194) new cases were recorded on Thursday.

The lack of capacity to store vaccines at minues 158 Fahrenheit has been addressed, reassured Hassan Sibomana, the director of the vaccination unit at Rwanda Biomedical Centre.

Hassan Sibomana - Photo Kigali Today

Hassan Sibomana – Photo Kigali Today

Sibomana said Rwanda now has capacity to store about 300,000 doses of vaccines.

Rwanda expects to receive its first doses of vaccines next March.

Inoculation will begin next April 1 and will prioritize and be delivered free to healthcare staff, people with comorbibities, and elderly citizens, aged 65 and older.

The Rwandan government recently purchased five new ultra-cold freezers worth around $50,000 that it needs to keep the vaccines at the right temperature level.

Lined up for yellow fever vaccination - UNICEF Connect

Lined up for yellow fever inoculation – Photo UNICEF Connect

The freezers were bought along with other equipment needed to distribute the vaccines from the capital, Kigali, to other parts of the country.

The spike has been blamed on Rwandans dropping their guard and overlooking COVID-19 guidelines over the last festive period.

Last January 5, the government banned movement for 15 days between the capital, Kigali, and other districts of the country in the hope of preventing the surge in COVID-19 cases.

The measure has raised food prices in markets in the capital, according to anecdotal information drawn from interviews of food traders in Kigali.

In total, Rwanda has recorded 10,316 cases with 133 fatalities and 6,974 recoveries.

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