By Rogers Wanambwa
KIU, Main Campus - Last week, Friday 5th March 2021, Rwanda commenced its COVID-19 vaccination program using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, making it the first African nation to administer the drug.
Accordingly, Rwanda received 102,960 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and 240,000 doses of AstraZeneca through the international vaccine cooperative, COVAX facility, earlier last week.
Rwandan health authorities began transporting both shots around the hilly nation of 12 million people using helicopters to reach far-flung areas.
Furthermore, last week, Rwandan health minister, Dr. Daniel Ngamije said the nation's vaccination plan would prioritize high-risk groups first, including the sick and the elderly, as well as front-line medical workers.
He added that the government's goal was to vaccinate 30 percent of Rwandans by the end of 2021, and 60 percent by the end of 2022.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame, to this effect, has installed special infrastructure to keep the Pfizer vaccine at the recommended -80°C to -60°C.
This comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration examining research conducted by its manufacturers, ruled the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine when transported and stored at conventional refrigerator temperatures, can still be effective for up to two weeks.