Zambia receives 4,500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Canada
Today 950,350 doses of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Zambia. This consignment is the first shipment of a total of 4.5 million doses of Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen vaccine donated by the Government of Canada through the COVAX facility.
These vaccines have been procured and delivered by UNICEF’s Supply Division, which leads the procurement and supply of COVID-19 vaccines across the world. The vaccine doses were handed over to the Ministry of Health by Jenny Hill, the Head of Office of Canada’s Office of the High Commission in Zambia.
Receiving the vaccines on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Zambia, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services, Prof. Lackson Kasonka, expressed optimism that the vaccines will aid the routine vaccination programme and defined campaigns undertaken to create demand for COVID-19 vaccines.
“I am delighted that the Government of the Republic of Zambia was designated to be a part of the recipients of the Canadian donation through the COVAX Facility. The receipt of a total donation of 950,350 doses of Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, will push our continued quest to have the eligible population vaccinated and protected” said Prof Kasonka.
Pamela O’Donnell, Canada’s High Commissioner to Zambia, Tanzania, Comoros and Seychelles noted that she welcomes the Government of Zambia’s efforts to vaccinate 70% of its eligible population by the end of the year and is proud that Canada can contribute to those efforts through this COVAX vaccine donation. She emphasized that this donation is an example of Canada’s commitment to support equitable access to safe and effective vaccines everywhere.
Rates of vaccination in Zambia have increased over the last few months as vaccine deliveries have increased, primarily through donations made via the COVAX facility, the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust, and direct donations from partner countries and organisations. Zambia has received 14.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses through the COVAX platform and 11.59 million doses reflecting 77 per cent of the total vaccine doses have been brought into the country.
Zambia now has more than four million fully vaccinated persons over 12 years, including health workers, religious leaders, teachers, and other frontline staff. These four million people are now protected from the worst effects of future waves of the virus, are less likely to infect others, and have reduced the chance of serious infection or long-term effects due to COVID-19. Vaccines are free to all persons over the age of 12 in Zambia.
“COVID-19 is still very much among us,” said WHO Zambia Representative Dr Nathan Bakyaita. “It is through the valuable support from partners such as Canada through the COVAX facility that we can and will continue to work to ensure sufficient vaccines are available and support the Government led COVID vaccination campaign. We would like to commend the Government and the Ministry of Health for their bold actions and tireless efforts toward reaching Zambia‘s vaccination coverage target. WHO and UNICEF as part of the UN family is extremely thankful to Canada for its continuous commitment and support in fighting the pandemic.”
Canada is committed to supporting equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics by working hand in hand with the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and the COVAX Facility. Since February 2020, Canada has committed over $3.4 billion in international assistance in response to COVID-19. This includes over $2 billion for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), and approximately $1.4 billion for humanitarian and development assistance programming to respond to the immediate needs created by the pandemic.
This support includes previous funding to WHO Zambia to conduct assessments of 253 health facilities and 50 health posts in COVID-19 case management capacity, continuity of essential health services, community needs and perceptions, COVID-19 prevention and care and health service resilience.
For more information, please contact:
Arifa Sharmin, Chief, Communication, UNICEF Zambia, assharmin [at] unicef.org
Kristina Seris, External Relations Officer, WHO Zambia, serisk [at] who.int
Jenny Hill, Head of Office, High Commission of Canada, Zambia, jenny.hill [at] international.gc.ca