Health Minister Dr. Lia Tadesse briefed the media on COVID 19 disease prevalence and vaccination status.
Even if the disease spread has shown a relative decrease in the past few weeks, the recent evidence shows that the number of new cases and deaths is rising. The minister elaborated on the COVID-19 spread saying the positivity rate is fourfold higher as compared to three weeks ago. She added the number of patients in ICU is 2.8 times higher than it was reported a few weeks ago. Dr. Lia explained, like other African countries, the current situation could indicate the third wave of COVID-19 is beginning in Ethiopia too. Hence, she stressed it is high time to reinforce infection prevention measures like using face masks, physical distancing, and keeping hand hygiene.
Regarding the COVD 19 vaccination, she described Ethiopia’s effort to expand vaccine access. The country is availing various but comparably effective vaccines in terms of preventing the disease, severe illness, and death. As part of this effort, eligibility criteria are expanded. Given a very high spread of COVID 19 infection in Addis Ababa, all residents aged 35 and above can now access the vaccine. For the rest of the regions and city administration, aged 55 and above will be eligible to receive the vaccination service.
Furthermore, Dr. Lia mentioned additional eligible groups in all regions, aged 18 and above for all individuals with chronic illness, employees working in services with direct contact with large numbers of people, street dwellers, internally displaced persons, and refugees. At last, Dr Lia confirmed vaccination service readiness in all health centers as of Friday, August 13 in Addis Ababa and August 20 in other regions.