Somalia received 302,400 doses of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX facility today. The J&J vaccines, donated by the United States, are the first single-dose vaccines to be distributed in Somalia to expand the COVID-19 vaccination coverage in the country and enable additional Somalis to be fully vaccinated with one shot.
“In this race against time to end this pandemic and vaccinate people, it is critical that as many safe and effective vaccines as possible are available to Somalia’s general public” said Somalia’s Federal Minister of Health, H.E. Dr. Fawziya Abikar Nur. “I would like to send my gratitude to the Government of United States for this donation as it is crucial in our continued fight against COVID-19 and I urge everyone eligible to get vaccinated.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, 16,103 laboratory-confirmed cases, including 864 deaths, have been reported in Somalia. The COVID-19 vaccination uptake among the general population remains low and as of 11 August 2021, only 93,458 Somalis have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“The vaccines help protect Somalis against Covid-19 and are an important step towards a return to normalcy” said the United Nations Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Somalia, Anita Kiki Gbeho.
“On behalf of the United Nations in Somalia, I would like to congratulate the Government of Somalia, and particularly the Ministry of Health and Her Excellency the Minister, for reaching this critical milestone along the COVID prevention path; important to keeping Somali families and communities safe and in reducing the spread of COVID-19.”
The J&J vaccines can be stored using standardvaccine storage equipment for routine vaccines, enabling the supplies to be distributed to far-to-reach areas, where populations can be fully protected with a single dose. Frontline workers, people with pre-existing conditions and eligible people continue to be prioritized with the vaccinations.
WHO and UNICEF will continue supporting the federal and state ministries of health to ensure the equitable distribution of the vaccines through the management of cold chain systems; training of vaccinators to administer vaccines safely; monitoring the vaccine uptake, particularly by eligible and vulnerable populations; and encouraging the uptake of the vaccine and the continuation of the critical, life-saving preventive COVID-19 behaviours in communities.