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Covid-19: Angola is the first Portuguese-speaking country to receive vaccines from Covax

This Tuesday, Angola became the first Portuguese-speaking country and the third in southern Africa to receive vaccines against covid-19 through the Covax initiative, in a batch of 624 thousand doses, which will start to be administered this afternoon.

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The vaccines produced in India, by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, were received at Luanda's international airport by a group of Executive members, as well as representatives of various entities such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), of the United Nations ( UN), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the delegation of the European Union and the World Health Organization (WHO), and the ambassador of India to Angola was also present.

Speaking to the press, the Minister of Health, Sílvia Lutucuta, said that the first vaccines, received under the Covax initiative, will begin to be administered this Tuesday.

Sílvia Lutucuta highlighted the importance of the country having received 624 thousand doses of vaccine from AstraZeneca, from the Covax initiative, to which Angola joined in July of last year, with the Vaccine Coverage Plan for the immunization of 20 percent of the population, potentially people in the risk group.

"At this stage, we just have to rejoice that Angola was the third African country to be chosen for the delivery of vaccines. It received Ghana, it also received Côte d'Ivoire, we are the third and the first Portuguese-speaking country to receive vaccines from Covax initiative ", said the minister.

The holder of the Health portfolio stressed that the Covax initiative foresees a coverage of 6.4 million inhabitants for people of advanced age, with comorbidities and exposed to the disease, noting that the international pressure is very high in the search for vaccines.

However, the minister said, there is a forecast of at least until July to cover this. "We will continue to work, also as an Angolan state, we have to have our own initiatives for the acquisition of vaccines and by that time we just have to be happy. We are going to start this vaccination campaign today, the first to kick-start and we will work with high performance from Saturday here in Luanda ", he guaranteed.

The provinces of Luanda, Benguela and Cabinda are the ones chosen for the start of the campaign, as they are the regions with the highest number of cases, as well as the highest number of active cases at this time, and the intention is to cover the whole country.

The minister said that the first to be vaccinated will be health professionals, teachers, patients with comorbidities and the elderly. "In relation to teachers, we will start with the lower classes, the preschool," stated the minister.

Sílvia Lutucuta said that the Plan provides for the vaccination of 53 percent of the population, aged 16 years or over, taking into account that the population is quite young and only 53 percent is in this age group that is already studied and that it can be vaccinated.

"We will have to continue to fight as everyone else is fighting, it is important to emphasize here that the result of this donation was not only the effort of the Ministry of Health, the Multisectoral Commission [to combat covid-19], but there was here a very big diplomatic effort, we have to highlight the role the effort of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was fundamental. With covid-19 diplomacy is not only economic diplomacy, but it also takes a lot of diplomacy in health to be able to reach our goals objectives ", he stressed.

Until Monday, Angola recorded a total of 20,807 positive cases of covid-19, of which 508 died, having recovered 19,322 people.

The Covax system aims to provide vaccines against covid-19 to 20 percent of the population in almost 200 participating countries and territories this year, and has a financing mechanism that allows 92 low- and middle-income economies to access vaccines.

The system was created in an attempt to prevent rich countries from monopolizing access to vaccines, which are still being produced in quantities too small to meet global demand.

Founded by the WHO, in partnership with the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (Cepi), Covax has agreements with manufacturers to supply two billion doses in 2021 and the possibility to buy yet another billion.

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