Burundi will wait for more research to establish the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines before it can administer them, the country’s health minister has said.

Dr Thadee Ndikumana said the country was “not against vaccines” but insisted that so far vaccines are being used as an emergency response and there was no guaranteed certainty on their possible side effects.

“Looking at the rate of people who recover from the disease, we have chosen to wait”, he said, adding that 96% of people who catch the virus recover from it.

Burundi does not have a rollout plan for the vaccination of its 12 million citizens.

Countries in the region including Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya have already started their immunisation campaigns.

Burundi has so far officially recorded 2,618 cases of infections with just six deaths since the first case was detected at the end of March last year.

The minister defended the government against allegations that the rate of infections could be higher, saying it was based on the number of people who had been diagnosed and tested positive by official health facilities.

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