The Minister of State in charge of Primary healthcare, Lt Col Dr. Tharcisse Mpunga has revealed that 77 per cent of adolescents in Rwanda have received Covid-19 vaccine.
He said that statistics from the Ministry of Health show that 570,000 children aged 12 to 17 years have received their first dose and about 750,000 have received the second dose.
The minister said this during a media briefing that took place on January 15.
Rwanda started inoculating the adolescents on November 23 last year, where a mass vaccination campaign was rolled out in schools, some were able to get their second dose during the holidays and others will be jabbed in an upcoming campaign.
The ministry has announced that it will be rolling out a new mass vaccination campaign targeting 1.8 million people within 15 days, among them, are also students who will be inoculated in their respective schools.
Mpunga said that with the Covid-19 tests conducted at the opening of second academic trimester, statistics indicate that the positivity rate was at 0.2 per cent, which means that there is likely low transmissibility rate among them at school.
Rwanda has been carrying out door-to-door vaccination with the help of youth volunteers and community health workers.
Dr. Mpunga said that the exercise is in place to help those who don't have the physical strength or other challenges to get to health centers to be vaccinated by reaching out to their respective places.
"It's the mobile vaccination approach from door to door because you can't gather them in one place for understandable physical hindrances," he said.
Minister allays fear over an increased number of deaths
Over the past weeks, there has been an increasing number of deaths recorded, the highest being nine people on January 10.
Mpunga said that those who are succumbing to Covid-19 are elderly people of 80 years and above who already have low immunity due to other underlying conditions.
So far, there are 11 people hospitalized at Kanyinya health facility and the minister assured that the country has enough space, oxygen, and other equipment to take care of hospitalized people.
'Rwanda cannot dump vaccines'
Asked whether the country doesn't have expired vaccines that can be destroyed just as some countries have been doing, Mpunga said that it is true that Covid-19 vaccines have expiry dates but Rwanda is not at a point where it can throw away unused vaccines but rather, the goal is to provide Rwandans with all necessary vaccines.
"We won't shelve vaccines when all Rwandans are served, in that case, we will donate them to others that might need them. If we don't find them, then a medication that is not used expires and is thrown away," he said