COVID-19 Vaccination Rejuvenates Hope of Ending the Pandemic

By George Kalisa

Since the beginning of March 2021 Rwanda has been vaccinating her people against the COVID-19 with AstraZeneca and Pfizer BioNTech, the two vaccines that were approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for emergency use.

As of October28, 2021, a total of 3,756,243 Rwandans had been vaccinated while 1,959,876 had received the second dose of the jabs of COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the Rwandan Ministry of Health a second doze of the jab can be of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer BioNTech. This information lines with the confirmation provided by WHO. 

“That person can have a strong immunity from the antibodies created from both vaccines,” Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) in a recent announcement obtainable on the RBC website.

Responding to misinformation that has been doing the rounds, Dr Nsanzimana confirmed that reputable research findings indicate that mixing both vaccines is possible and the practice has been implemented with utterly no side effects found.

Meanwhile, dozens of world leaders and medics of high profile have commended Rwanda for her vigilance in not only tightening containment measures against the COVID-19 pandemic since it was declared in the East African landlocked country mid-March2020 but also rolling out the vaccination campaigns across the country.   

“I congratulate the Government of Rwanda for a very organized system of vaccine delivery which enabled the country to rollout vaccines much faster and very efficiently” Dr. Brian Chirombo, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Rwanda.

Owing to the political will and vigilance demonstrated by the Government of Rwandan (GoR) in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, donations of the vaccines and protective equipment continue to arrive in the country. This gesture renews hope that Rwanda will meet her target to have vaccinated at least 60% of Rwandans by 2022.

On October27, 2021 Rwanda received 398,000 jabs of Pfizer as donation from France through COVAX.

Out of a population of 13,382,113 million according to the latest United Nations projections, Rwanda has already vaccinated 3,756,243 people, 1,959,876 of them have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

And, in Rwanda it is mandatory to receive two dozes of the COVID-19 jabs and the East African nation has done whatever it takes to minimize operational bottlenecks by heightening mass sensitization to encounter misinformation and fake news that was spread by some people for the disease has been a mystery to them. 

“At first, my neighbours told me that the COVID-19 vaccine induces infertility in men and barrenness in women,” said Mukeshimana Claudine, a cleaner in Nyabugogo, a suburb of Kigali city.

Mukeshimana said that she later got convinced by the health officials that visited her workplace and the frequent radio health programmes that appeal to the masses to be inoculated by the COVID-19 vaccines and she had just had her second doze.

At the Kigali International Airport, George Odeke (not real name), a Rwandan journalist said he was led to RBC tent on October 20, 2021 for the mandatory testing of COVID-19 on arrival. And, the visibly hospitable health officials reminded him to go for the second dose of COVID vaccine as soon as he leaves the hotel where he waited for the results. Anyway, the $60 passengers pay for the test on arrival cannot be compared to lives of people who are killed by COVID-19 every day.  

Travellers are not, at all, allowed to interact with the citizens before the COVID-19 test results are released and with the efficient health systems of Rwanda, it takes the shortest time possible to have the results. 

Rwanda is among the first African countries to have launched the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

The East African nation had recorded 99,565 cases of the Coronavirus with 1,327 deaths and 45,514 recoveries as of October29, 2021.

Globally, 246, 433,487 cases had been recorded the same date while 4,999,464 had been killed by the pandemic.

Therefore, the Coronavirus pandemic continues to claim lives worldwide and in Rwanda, and hence vaccination should be a priority for every government. The citizens within Rwanda and beyond should pay no attention to the fake news and misinformation about vaccination and accept that the fight against the pandemic is everyone’s responsibility if the world is to end the pandemic.         

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