LUSAKA, April 12 (Xinhua) -- The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Zambia on Monday as the southern African nation begins the rollout of the vaccination program as one of the pillars to the response.
The first consignment under the COVAX Facility consisting of 228,000 doses of AstraZeneca manufactured in India arrived at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka on Monday afternoon and was received by health officials, the media and cooperating partners.
Minister of Health Jonas Chanda said the arrival of the vaccine signals a significant stride in the country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the arrival of the vaccine was collaborative work of various stakeholders and thanked the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund as well as other cooperating partners for supporting the acquisition of the vaccine.
He said the government was determined to vaccinate all eligible citizens above the age of 18 and that the program will be undertaken in a cautious manner on a voluntary basis.
He urged citizens to disregard the myths surrounding the vaccine program, adding that there have been no adverse events from countries in Africa that have so far administered the vaccine.
A total of 8.3 million people are targeted to be vaccinated.