Gambia Set to Start Vaccinations After Covax, Senegal Donations

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Gambia is set to start its Covid-19 inoculation program after receiving a donation of 36,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the World Health Organization-backed Covax initiative.

The West African nation is also expecting 10,000 Sinopharm vaccines to arrive Wednesday from neighboring Senegal, which committed 10% of the first batch of vaccines it received to two of its lower-income neighbors, Mustapha Bittaye, director of health services, said by phone late Tuesday.

Gambia, a $1-billion economy, depends on tourism for nearly a third of its gross domestic product. The country of 2.3 million people has recorded 4,735 coronavirus infections, including 151 deaths, since the first case appeared in March last year, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

The country plans to vaccinate frontline health workers, people who are 65 and above and those with co-morbidities in the first round of the campaign, Bittaye said. The start date of the vaccination drive hasn’t yet been confirmed, he said.

Gambia, which also hopes to secure doses through the African Union and the African Medical Service Platform, is in talks with Russia for its Sputnik V vaccine as it seeks to inoculate up to 60% of its population by the end of the year, Bittaye said.

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