Somali NGOs say Somalis could be receiving many more doses this year if more labs were able to access the pharmaceuticals blueprints
24th March 2021: Somali NGOs warmly welcome the first batch of COVID19 vaccines
this week from COVAX and warn that Somalia is facing critical shortages of oxygen
and medical supplies to cope with the rising COVID-19 cases. With current vaccine
doses less than 2% of the population will receive a vaccine while in contrast rich
nations have vaccinated their citizens at a rate of one person per second over the last
The first batch containing 300,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been
distributed to various cities across Somalia. The vaccine’s arrival comes as the country
struggles with a second wave of COVID-19 cases. As WHO reported In Somalia, from
3 January 2020 to 23 March 2021, there have been 10,214 confirmed cases of COVID-
19 with 441 deaths, however testing capacity is low and the estimated real figures are
much higher.
Under COVAX, Somalia will receive a total of 3.5 million doses, to vaccinate 20% of
the population and 1.2million people can hope to be vaccinated by mid-year. Given
the weak health care infrastructure, Somali health care workers will continue to
struggle to treat those who need it if vaccines do not arrive in greater quantities more
“While the government has yet to announce the detail criteria for fair distribution of the
vaccine, we urge the government to reach frontline health and humanitarian
workers with preconditions as a priority as well as elderly or people with underlying
health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, HIV, government personnel, marginalized
groups including refugees, prisoners, and people living in slums and other crowded
housing conditions,” said Halimo Elmi, Acting Director of the Somali NGO Consortium
The UN has been allocated 1,000 vaccines and NGOs want to see local field teams
at the front-line of the humanitarian responses to the escalating drought crisis and
conflict-related displacement prioritised.
Many of the economically developed nations rolling out vaccines quickly, including the
US, UK and EU, have again blocked a proposal by over 100 developing countries,
including Somalia, discussed at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on the
anniversary of the pandemic last week. This proposal would override the monopolies
held by pharmaceutical companies and allow an urgently needed scale up in the

production of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to ensure poorer countries, such
as Somalia, get access to the doses they desperately need.
Qualified vaccine producers worldwide stand ready to produce more vaccines if they
were allowed access to the technology and know-how, which now is being held under
lock and key by pharmaceutical companies. This could bring new capacity on stream
within months.
The inequality is outrageous. When rich countries and companies are not coming
together to support those who are in need and put profits before people’s health, it
hurts us all. Somalis could be receiving many more doses this year if more labs
were able to access the pharmaceutical blueprints,” says Amjad Ali, Country
Director of Oxfam in Somalia, which is part of The Peoples’ Vaccine Alliance.
To control the virus, enough doses of vaccines need to be produced in different
geographies, priced affordably, allocated globally and widely deployed for free in local
communities. Thus far, the world is failing on all four fronts.
Media contacts:
• For Somali enquiries: Abdiaziz Adani: +252 63 4411020,, Oxfam, Senior Advocacy Officer
• For English enquiries: Amy Croome,, Chair of SNC’s
Advocacy Working Group
• Abdisamad Yassin:, Somali NGO
• Lillian Omariba,, Chair of SNC’s Communications
Working Group