Richard K Bell, US Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire, spoke to Gavi at the launch of the country’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign about the US commitment to COVAX and why this is such an historic day for the global fight against COVID-19.
Setting an important example that the vaccine is safe and effective, Patrick Achi, Chief of Staff to the President of Côte d’Ivoire, becomes the first person to receive a COVAX vaccine at the launch of the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign at the Abidjan Parc des Sports. Among the first to receive one of the 504,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which was manufactured by Serum Institute of India and shipped to Côte d’Ivoire on Friday, were healthcare and frontline workers.
Final preparations are underway in Côte d’Ivoire for the launch of its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Monday - the first to take place with vaccines shipped and delivered by COVAX, and the first of what will be the largest and most rapid global deployment of vaccines ever. Vaccinators have been trained, the cold chain is ready and last-minute preparations are underway at Abidjan’s Parc des Sports, where around 50 health and other frontline workers will be among the first to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the country tomorrow morning.
The measures we will take for this COVAX vaccine are the same as for the other vaccines we work with. It’s the same temperature range – 2-8 degrees – so we go through the same precautions as with other vaccines. So, for someone experienced in the management of these vaccines, nothing substantial changes. For us this is the same as a measles or yellow fever campaign... We are well prepared.
We have the organisation in place, we have qualified staff, experienced staff, and we have the logistics and the procedures ready. Everything is in place to not only vaccinate patients and communities, but also to give them the right advice. There is no doubt that we can succeed in this challenge.
Prof Isaac Tiembre, Vaccinator training lead at the National Institute of Public Hygiene
At Abidjan’s National Institute of Public Hygiene around one hundred vaccinators are being trained, ahead of the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines next week. Not only are they learning about how to administer the vaccines, they’re also being trained in how to encourage people to get vaccinated. Here, vaccinator Demy Boni, who will also be one of the first people to be vaccinated, talks about the training, the impact of COVID-19 and why these vaccines are so important.
Shortly after the 504,000 doses of COVAX vaccines landed in Côte d’Ivoire on Friday, they were transported to the EPI cold chain storage warehouse in Abidjan, and placed in these refrigerated units. The facility was built in 2016 with funding from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
These Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, which were manufactured in India by the Serum Institute of India, need to be kept at temperatures of between 2-8 degrees Celsius to remain safe and effective. This means they can be stored in existing vaccine cold storage units.
In the coming days a fleet of 19 refrigerated trucks, paid for by Gavi, will transport these doses to vaccination sites across the Abidjan region, which is the country’s COVID-19 epicentre. First in line will be health care and frontline workers.
Watch our interview with EU ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire Jobst von Kirchmann on a historic day for COVAX.
Video address by Marie-Ange Saraka-Yao, Managing Director, Resource Mobilisation, Private Sector Partnerships & Innovative Finance, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
After being unloaded these COVID-19 vaccines will be transported to a storage facility, and in the coming days health care and frontline workers will be among the first in the world to receive them.
This is an historic moment for us, after almost a year of global health crisis. For the population, it comes at the right time, because we are at a stage where we really want to put an end to this disease, this epidemic, which has had enough repercussions on our lives, economically and socially. We really need to end it.
Salimatou Dia, Radiodiffusion Television Ivoirienne (RTI)
En route! Following the arrival of the first shipment of COVAX vaccine doses to Ghana yesterday, preparations were already underway at Serum Institute of India to dispatch the next shipment. This short clip captures a batch of 504,000 doses arriving at Mumbai airport, shortly before they took off bound for Côte d’Ivoire. After transiting in UAE, this shipment is due to land in Côte d’Ivoire on Friday.