The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) received more than 1.7 million doses of coronavirus vaccine through the United Nations’ COVAX initiative, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in a press release on Friday.
“More than 1.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC,” the release said.
The vaccines will be distributed based on the World Health Organization’s guidelines that prioritize vaccination of 20 percent of the population, comprised of health workers, people over 55 years of age, and individuals with serious health conditions.
This first vaccine shipment will target four provinces most affected by the pandemic – Kinshasa, North Kivu, Central Kongo, and Haut-Katanga. A plan for the distribution of vaccines for the rest of the country is now being finalized.
UNICEF said it supports the logistics of the operation and is also tasked with ensuring the security of the vaccine cold chain storage.
Health authorities decided to use the Astra Zeneca vaccine because it meets the DRC’s existing storage conditions between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.