Zimbabwe First African Nation to Allow Use of Indian Vaccine

Vials of Bharat Biotech Ltd. Covaxin vaccine for coronavirus at Sanjeevan Hospital in Daryaganj, New Delhi. Photographer. T. Narayan/Bloomberg , Bloomberg

HARARE (Bloomberg) — Zimbabwe has become the first African country to authorize the use of India’s only homegrown coronavirus vaccine, which the developers this week said showed strong efficacy.

The first batch of Covaxin, which was co-developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Ltd. and the Indian Council of Medical Research is due to arrive shortly, the Indian Embassy in the southern African nation said on its Twitter account.

​The necessary paperwork for the delivery of 75,000 vaccines has been completed and more shots will be purchased soon, Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga told reporters in the capital, Harare after, meeting with Indian Ambassador Vijay Khanduja.

“We are discussing modalities of how it can come to Zimbabwe in the shortest possible time,” Chiwenga was quoted as saying by state-owned radio station, Star FM.

Covaxin has shown an efficacy rate of 81% in those without prior infection after a second dose, Bharat Biotech said in a statement Wednesday.

Zimbabwe was among the first African nations to start administering coronavirus vaccines last month using 200,000 Sinopharm doses donated by China. In the first phase of its vaccination program, the country is targeting high-risk groups including health-care workers, customs and immigration officials.

As of March 3, the country had vaccinated 27,970 people, according to health ministry data.