As Ethiopia starts vaccines, Addis doctor says COVID risks remain 

More serious cases of the disease are piling pressure on hard-pressed staff and straining limited resources, says Natnael Bekuretsion, medical director of an Addis Ababa hospital

Source: As Ethiopia starts vaccines, Addis doctor says COVID risks remain 

* Ethiopia secures 2.2 million vaccine doses through COVAX

* Fearing shortage, hospital tries to stock oxygen cylinders

* Health workers, many of them women, first in line for jab

By Emeline Wuilbercq

ADDIS ABABA, March 18 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Ethiopia is rolling out its first COVID-19 vaccines among frontline health workers, but the vast country of 110 million people still faces an uphill struggle to beat the pandemic, according to a senior doctor in Addis Ababa.

Sanitation workers at the Eka Kotebe General Hospital bury a patient who died of COVID-19 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2020. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Yonas Tadesse

The mass vaccination drive began on Saturday, exactly a year after a Japanese man in the capital became the Horn of Africa nation’s first confirmed coronavirus case.

Natnael Bekuretsion, the 28-year-old medical director of Eka Kotebe General Hospital, was not among the first group of healthcare employees to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, but he said the arrival of the doses was “light at the end of the tunnel”.

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