Somalia has received more than than 300,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The doses, donated by the U.S. through the international COVAX facility, will be the first single-dose vaccines to be distributed in Somalia.
Somali health authorities received 302,400 doses Thursday of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX facility.
Dr. Ahmed Hussein Moalim, Somalia’s deputy minister for Health, expressed gratitude to the U.S. government for the donation.
He says the vaccines they received from U.S. will help curb the spread of the virus in the country and boost efforts by health authorities to control the pandemic.
According to President Joe Biden, Washington has shipped more than 110 million doses of vaccines to 65 nations so far.
U.S. officials in Mogadishu said the primary goal of the donations is to save lives.
"This is something we are doing with a singular aim of saving lives because we do believe firmly that the vaccines are the best path forward in ending this pandemic and saving lives globally," said the official.
Anita Kiki Gbeho, the U.N. special representative in Somalia, said the vaccines help protect Somalis against COVID-19 and are an important step towards a return to normalcy.
"This is part of a global effort an effort to support countries to be able to vaccinate their people," said Gbeho. "We know it is a long road on the continent and a long road in Somalia to make sure particularly the frontline workers and the most vulnerable are vaccinated.”
Somalia has registered more than 16,000 coronavirus cases and 864 fatalities since the first case was recorded in the country in March 2020.
There has been a surge in recent weeks, and in the past 48 hours, 92 people tested positive across the country.