Libya launched yesterday its coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccination campaign for the general population in Tripoli, with the elderly and healthcare workers given priority in the conflict-hit North African nation.
Those over 70 would get the AstraZeneca jab while the Russian Sputnik V vaccine would be administered to medical personnel and those aged 50-60, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said.
NCDC head Badreddine al-Najjar told AFP that the vaccines would be distributed across Libya “in the coming days”, adding that China’s Sinovac jab would also be available.
Libya has so far received 400,000 doses, including 200,000 Sputnik V shots, 57,600 AstraZeneca jabs, and 150,000 from Turkey thought to be China’s Sinovac.
The AstraZeneca doses were delivered through the Covax programme for lower and middle income countries.
The country is struggling to emerge from decades of violence and political rivalries following its descent into chaos in the aftermath of the 2011 Nato-backed uprising that ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Although rich in oil, the economy has been hit hard and the situation was further compounded by the coronavirus pandemic with nearly 1,000 cases registered per day in recent weeks.
Since the pandemic emerged last year, there have been 171,131 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Libya, including 2,882 deaths, out of a population of 7mn, officials say.
Yesterday, dozens of men and women wore face masks and sat on chairs which were spread out to ensure physical distancing in the courtyard of a vaccination centre in Tripoli as they waited to get a jab.
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