Mozambique approaches global COVID-19 vaccine scheme for doses for 20% of population

FILE PHOTO: Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi speaks with the press in Mozambique, October, 15, 2019. REUTERS/Grant Lee Neuenburg/File Photo

MAPUTO (Reuters) - Mozambique has applied to access COVID-19 vaccines through the global vaccine distribution scheme co-led by the World Health Organization, giving it the option to buy doses for at least 20% of its population, President Filipe Nyusi said on Wednesday.

As a low income country, Mozambique qualifies for subsidised vaccines under the COVAX facility, which aims to make available 2 billion doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021.

“We have applied to the COVAX programme and we expect to get the vaccine to vaccinate 20% of vulnerable people”, Nyusi said in an address to the nation.

Health minister Armindo Tiago said in an interview with state broadcaster Radio Mozambique earlier this month that the country expects to receive around 6 million doses and plans to start vaccinations from the end of June or in July.

Nyusi on Wednesday also announced new measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, including restrictions on the alcohol sales and mandatory COVID-19 testing at borders for travellers moving in or out of the country.

The nation of 30 million people has recorded nearly 24,000 COVID-19 cases with 205 deaths.

Reporting by Manuel Mucari; writing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Aurora Ellis