Senegal has kicked off its wider COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Wednesday, after an official launch ceremony the day before saw dozens of officials vaccinated to demonstrate its safety.
Around 100,000 people are expected to be vaccinated with 200,000 doses purchased from China’s Sinopharm, which arrived in Senegal last week.
The West African country is one of the first in the region to start vaccinating its population against COVID-19. It has so far recorded 33,242 cases and 832 deaths from the disease.
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“We have seen how COVID manifests itself, and so it was with a smile that we can get vaccinated and at last achieve immunity,” said Baye Moussa Samba, a doctor at a health centre in the Sicap neighbourhood, which was previously a COVID-19 testing centre.
Senegal aims to inoculate about 90 percent of a targeted 3.5 million people, including health workers and high-risk individuals, by the end of 2021.
As a lower-middle-income country, Senegal is eligible for about 1.3 million vaccine doses for free through the first wave of the World Health Organization’s COVAX programme in early March.
The country is negotiating with Russian for more vaccines and is also eligible to get 3.4 million doses for just under $23 million under an African Union plan.
By Temitayo Ayetoto || businessday.ng