Covid-19: Rwanda resumes mass vaccination

Tuesday August 03 2021
Covid-19 vaccination.

Rwanda resumes countrywide mass vaccination against Covid-19. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

By Ange Iliza

Rwanda on Monday announced that it had resumed a countrywide mass vaccination against Covid-19 with the Pfizer vaccine.

The country had scaled down on the number of doses it gave out per day, but it has now gone back to mass vaccination after it received donations.

The government targets to inoculate 300,000 people in one month, and any person above the age of 40 years is eligible for the jab.

From Tuesday, vaccines will be available at all health centres in the country. At least 10,000 people are expected to get vaccinated every day.

Targeted populations include healthcare and pharmacy practitioners, and pregnant and breastfeeding women as it has been scientifically proven that the vaccine is safe for them.

Dr Tharcisse Mpunga, Minister of State in Charge of Primary Healthcare, said that mass vaccination will improve people’s immunity against Covid-19 and reduce the number of deaths and hospitalised patients.


So far 455,673 people in Rwanda are fully vaccinated and 3,238 have received their first dose.

According to the Minister of Health, Rwanda has purchased 3.5 million more doses of Covid-19 vaccine that is expected to arrive in Kigali soon.

Rwanda needs at least 13 million doses to inoculate 60 percent of its 7.5 million population by June 2022.

So far, around 4 percent of the population have received the first dose of the vaccine.

In March, Rwanda vaccinated 350,465 people with the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines acquired through Covax Initiative. In May, over 100,000 more people were vaccinated with doses donated by French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to Rwanda.

The vaccination kicks off two days after a two-week lockdown was lifted. The lockdown was imposed on July 17 to curb a severe wave of Covid-19 infections and lifted on August 1, but strict guidelines and a 6pm-4am curfew were retained.

The severity of the current wave is attributed to the novel Delta variant that is said to be more contagious and deadly than other variants. As of August 1, Rwanda had a death toll of 821 and 56 patients were in critical condition. In the 63,858 tests taken in the last week, 9,119 tested positive. Positivity rate stands at 8.5 percent.