Libya received the first batch of coronavirus vaccines from the Covax programme on Friday at the Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli.
The delivery contained 57,6000 doses, which will be important for Libya's fragile health sector that has been hit by a decade of violence since the toppling of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011
The vaccines will be earmarked for priority groups, such as health care workers and people over the age of 75.
The vaccines will be distributed to vaccination centres throughout the country, based on a distribution plan designed in coordination with the national health authorities in Libya.
The Covax programme, which aims to guarantee vaccines are equally distributed, said additional doses would be delivered this month.
“We are delighted that the first batch of Covax vaccines has arrived in Libya”, said Dr. Ali Al-Zinati, Minister of Health.
“Libya is a self-financing participant in the Covax Facility. Altogether, we have ordered enough doses of vaccine to immunize at least around 1,374,200 people. We expect additional doses to be delivered as early as the end of this month.”
Libya has reported more than 165,000 covid infections and almost 3,000 deaths.
"This is a great step forward for Libya”, said Elizabeth Hoff, the WHO Representative in Libya.
“Vaccines are a critical new tool in the battle against COVID-19. However, for the foreseeable future, we must continue to wear masks, maintain physical distancing and avoid crowds. Being vaccinated does not mean that we can throw caution to the wind and put ourselves and others at risk.”