20,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 doses will arrive in the country on Friday, health officials have confirmed.

The Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Dr Gregory Jilini, made the confirmation during oversight committees weekly talk back show over the weekend.

He says frontline workers will be the first to get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine, and this could happen as early as next week.

The COVID-19 vaccine Technical Working Group (TWG) is currently conducting awareness sessions for all frontline workers. The TWG comprises of immunization and health experts within the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, UNICEF and WHO in collaboration with the National Health Promotion Officers of MHMS.

In a media statement Chair of the TWG, Dr Divinal Ogaoga, explained the importance of vaccinating the COVID-19 operation frontline workers.

“Front-liners are our first line of defense because they are the ones responsible to assess and clear, transport and monitor all incoming travelers, including managing and caring for those who arrive in country and tested positive for COVID-19. As such, they are more at risk of contracting COVID-19 than any other citizens," Dr Ogaoga said. 

“Therefore, by giving priority to frontline workers to receive the vaccine we are not only protecting the frontline workers themselves but also enhancing the protection of the entire country against COVID-19.

“Further-more front-liners perform a critical role in the overall efforts of the country against COVID-19 thus the vaccine will prevent them from hospitalization or death due to COVID-19”.