Somalia on Monday received the first shipment of 300,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from the global COVAX initiative, the Health Ministry said.

Somali Health Ministry Fawzia Abikar, other government officials and UN’s especial envoy to Somalia James Swan were present at the airport to receive the shipment, said a ministry statement.

According to the statement, the first shipment will target frontline workers, elderly and people with chronic health conditions.

“The arrival of the vaccine happens at a critical times as Somalia now experiencing a new wave of the pandemic. It can only be contained if all countries stand together, Somalia included,” Abikar said.

The ministry said Somalia has secured enough vaccines from the COVAX Facility to vaccinate at least 20% of its population in phases.

On Feb. 3, Mamunur Rahman Malik, the WHO head in Somalia, said the country will receive 1.2 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from the COVAX Facility.

Somalia confirmed 244 new cases of the coronavirus over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 9,190. The death toll in the Horn of African nation reached 367, with 18 fatalities over the past day.

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