117,600 AstraZeneca doses of anti-Coronavirus vaccines arrive in Tripoli via Covax initiative

By Sami Zaptia.

117,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines arrive in Tripoli via COVAX (Photo: NCDC).

London, 20 May 2021:

Libya’s Health Ministry confirmed last night that 117,600 new doses of the AstraZeneca anti-Coronavirus vaccine arrived at Tripoli’s Mitiga airport last night. The latest batch came through the UN-Covax initiative.

This is the second batch of AstraZeneca vaccines to arrive in Libya after the first batch of this brand consisting of 57,600 doses had arrived on 8 April through Covax.

 

Brand Quantity Date of arrival Note
1 Sputnik V 101,252 040421 Via UAE
2 Oxford AstraZeneca 57,600 080421 Via Covax
3 Sputnik V 100,000 090421
4 Sinovac 150,000 140421 Via Turkey
5 Oxford AstraZeneca 117,600 190521 Via Covax
Total: 526,452

 

Overall, it is the fifth consignment of vaccines to arrive in Libya since the first shipment (of Sputnik V) arrived on 4 April. It brings the total number of vaccines of the three brands to arrive in Libya to 526,452 doses.

Libya’s Ministry of Health expects 12 million doses to arrive over time.

Libya’s population is 6.9 million excluding foreigners and illegal migrants, but the government has vowed to vaccinate all present in Libya irrespective of their legal status.

It will be recalled that on 10 April Libya officially launched its vaccination campaign with Prime Minister Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba and his Health Minister Ali Zanati being the first to be vaccinated with their first doses.

When will second doses start to be administered?

The Health Ministry revealed that after the completion of targeting an average of 70% of the primary target groups of the elderly, those with chronic diseases and workers on the front lines confronting the pandemic of medical and auxiliary medical elements in the isolation and filtering centres – the second dose will start to be rolled out.

Start of vaccination of pilgrims as of Sunday 23 May

The Health Ministry also revealed that on Sunday 23 May, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) will start vaccinating pilgrims targeted for this year’s Hajj, exceptionally, with the AstraZeneca vaccine. This, the Ministry added, is in accordance with the requirements of the Hajj Administration in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Large quantities of Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be arriving

Quoting the Information Office of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Health Ministry said ‘‘large quantities of Johnson & Johnson vaccines will arrive’’. It did not give any timelines or quantities. It said that after these large quantities arrive, Libya can finish the challenge of providing the vaccine, and it becomes available to all citizens in all parts of the country.

Vaccinations will continue to arrive in succession giving high level of community immunity

The Health Ministry said consignments of vaccinations will continue to arrive in succession in order to vaccinate all citizens and residents in the country to reach a high level of community immunity against the Corona virus.

People urged to register on online system

To limit and eliminate this pandemic, it urged people to take the initiative to register in the system to be vaccinated against the Corona virus by entering the following link: https://www.eservices.ly

Vaccination rollout

It will be recalled that Libya’s vaccination rollout was to be as follows:

1-Astrazeneca vaccine for: All those above 70 years old registered on the online system.

2-Sputnik V vaccine for: a/Frontline healthcare personnel. b/ 50- to 60-year-olds registered on the online system.

However, in reality, anyone can now get vaccinated as long as they are registered on the online system. Libya Herald knows of several thirty- and forty-year-olds who have been vaccinated.

This came about as many of the targeted groups did not come forward for their vaccinations. This is partly due to the fasting month of Ramadan (which ended Thursday 13 May), a rejection of the vaccination in principle, and a rejection of the Russian/Chinese brands.

The latest Coronavirus cases and vaccinations

Meanwhile, the latest NCDC figures report today that Libya has vaccinated 159, 779 cases. There have been a total of 182,649 Coronavirus cases, with 169,364 recoveries, 10,183 active cases and 3,102 deaths from the virus. Over the last 24 hours 3,252 tests were conducted.

The reality?

However, these stats do not convey a true reflection of the pandemic in Libya as testing is very low and most mild cases are turned away to self-isolate at home. Most Libyans with mild cases have learnt how to self-treat themselves at home, avoiding the state health system which they suspect is unhygienic.

The private sector will not admit coronavirus cases and many doctors have chosen not to turn up to work for fear of catching the pandemic.

 

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