Rwanda’s Kagame first East African leader to take Covid jab

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Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame on Thursday became the first leader in East Africa to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, which has been rolled out in the region in recent days, his office announced.

Kagame, 63, and his wife Jeannette, were pictured receiving their jabs on the Rwandan presidency’s official Twitter account, which said that 230,000 people had received the vaccine.

It was not specified which vaccine they received. Rwanda has received some 100,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech drug and 240,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford medicine.

Rwanda, a country of 12 million, plans to inoculate 30 percent of its population this year, and 60 percent by the end of 2022.

In February, Rwanda became the first country in East Africa to begin vaccinating against the disease, targeting high-risk groups such as healthcare workers after acquiring around 1,000 doses of the Moderna jab.

The country has carried out more than a million tests and detected almost 20,000 cases, with 271 deaths since the outbreak of the virus.

It imposed some of the strictest anti-coronavirus measures on the continent, including one of Africa’s first total shutdowns in March 2020. It put capital Kigali back under a full lockdown in January after a surge in cases.

So far in East Africa, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda have begun vaccinating. Ethiopia — the worst hit in the region — will start on Saturday.

-AFP

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