Covid-19: Rwanda fully vaccinates close to half its population

Thursday January 13 2022
Medical officials administer Covid-19 vaccines in Rwanda.

Medical officials administer Covid-19 vaccines in Rwanda. The country has fully vaccinated 5,888,447 people as of January 12, 2022. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

By Ange Iliza

A month after an aggressive Covid-19 vaccination campaign launched in November, almost 6 million Rwandans out of its 12.9 million population are fully vaccinated. The target is to reach 9.1 million people by June this year.

Vaccination campaign

The countrywide vaccination campaign was launched after Rwanda recorded six cases of the new Omicron variant in early December.

Mobile vaccination sites were established at bus stations and the vaccine was made available at all major hospitals, schools, and other designated spots.

Vaccine mandates were introduced, making it almost impossible for the unvaccinated to operate in Rwanda.

A month later, 1.7 million people have been fully inoculated, bringing the total number of fully vaccinated people to 5,888,447, as of January 12. Over 450,160 people have received their booster shots.


For the last two months, Rwanda, as many countries across the world, experienced a drastic spike in Covid-19 infections.

Since Covid-19 was first reported in Rwanda in March 2020, the country recorded its highest number of infections in the last two months, with 100,082 new cases reported since November last year.

Covid guidelines

The vaccine mandates and the rise in infections prompted regularly updated, stringent precautionary guidelines both for the locals and travellers. Travellers are now subjected to a 24-hour quarantine on arrival, a PCR test and regular rapid tests while staying in Rwanda, all at their own cost.

Rwanda currently adheres to a 10pm- 4am curfew that allows businesses to operate until 9pm, except for bars that have to close at 8pm.

Employees are encouraged to work from home, while gatherings and festivities are prohibited except for a limited number of fully vaccinated people who present negative Covid test results.

The rules have been in place since mid-December. 

While the rules have been a pain in the neck for businesses, especially the hospitality sector, Covid-19 infections have been dropping for the last two weeks.

The positivity rate has dropped from 6 percent in December to the current 3.8 percent.

The fatalities increased during the last week with 28 deaths recorded in the last seven days. A total of 1,399 have lost their lives so far.

Health officials have confirmed that most people losing their lives are the elderly and unvaccinated. People aged between 20 and 50 record the most infections while Covid-19 deaths are more prevalent in people aged above 70 years.


Rwanda has affirmed it has sufficient number of Covid-19 vaccines to inoculate the remaining 3 million target population.

On January 12, China announced it will donate 4 million more Covid-19 doses to Rwanda as part of the 1 billion doses China plans to donate to Africa this year.

The donation makes China a major vaccine donor to Rwanda with over 6 million doses donated.