According to sources from the Ministry of Health Development, the 65,000 vaccines received yesterday by the government of Somaliland are only one of the two recommended doses of the vaccine. As recommended by the vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca and the World Health Organization, the second dose that should be administered within 8 to 12 weeks is not included in the received shipment of AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine through COVAX.
Somaliland government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity did know why only one of the recommended doses were shipped but were hopeful that the issue would be remedied within 8 to 12 weeks and added that Somaliland is looking to other sources of vaccine beyond the COVAX program.
The President of the Republic of Somaliland HE Muse Bihi Abdi, addressing an initial public offering of Dahabshiil Group spoke of the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccine and stated that vaccination is entirely voluntary and that he will be the first one to take it when its administration starts on Saturday.
It is unclear if President Bihi is aware that the vaccines Somaliland has received through the COVAX program are only one of the two recommended doses and it is also unclear if Somaliland will be getting the second dose of AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine within the recommended period.
An official who spoke on the matter of this particular vaccine and the fact that many countries have paused its use stated that most medications have side effects and the risk of COVID-19 infection outweighs concerns of potential side effects.
COVID-19 infections have been surging in Somaliland lately and no new government efforts have been announced to curb the spread of the virus. Two days ago the Vice President of the Republic of Somaliland HE Abdirahman Ismail Saylici announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been struggling with it the last three days. Other officials including the Minister of Finance Development Dr. Sa’ad Ali Shire and the Deputy Minister of Health Hon Mahdi Osman Buri were reported to have also tested positive for COVID.