Rwanda became the first African nation on Friday to use doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine that require ultra-cold storage.
Authorities began transporting Pfizer and AstraZeneca shots round the hilly nation of 12 million people after they arrived earlier this week, using helicopters to reach far-flung parts.
President Paul Kagame’s government plans to vaccinate up to 30 percent of Rwandans by the end of this year with health workers and the elderly the first set of people to receive the vaccines.
A 90-year-old Stephanie Nyirankuriza expressed delight at the arrival of the vaccine in the East African nation.
“This means that I will die when God wants because the COVID-19 cannot kill me now,” she said, leaning on a walking stick after her shot at a health centre just east of the capital Kigali.
The Kagame government, which prides itself on efficiency and technological prowess but is often criticised as authoritarian, has installed special infrastructure to keep the Pfizer vaccine at the required -70 degrees.
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