Senegal on Tuesday officially began the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination, taking a new step in the crusade against the pandemic.
Senegalese Minister of Health and Social Action Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in front of the press at his ministry, which symbolized the starting point of Senegal’s vaccination campaign.
Politicians, such as former Prime Minister Souleymane Ndene Ndiaye, Foreign Minister Aissata Tall Sall, Minister of National Education Mamadou Talla, and members of the health workers were also vaccinated Tuesday morning.
The Senegalese health minister said after vaccination that Senegalese President Macky Sall had instructed him to respect two things, “fairness and transparency.”
According to him, the 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine are already distributed in all 14 regions of the country.
Sarr invited his compatriots to continue the fight against COVID-19 with respecting barrier gestures, wearing protective masks, washing hands regularly and avoiding gatherings.
He also revealed that President Sall is negotiating with Russia for having Sputnik V vaccine.
“During the month of March, Senegal will receive its first batch of vaccines from the COVAX initiative. We will continue so that all Senegalese who must be vaccinated shall be,” he added.
For the first phase of the nation-wide COVID-19 vaccination campaign, Senegalese health authorities aim to vaccinate 20 percent of the Senegalese population. This phase targets frontline health workers, people over the age of 60 and people with underlying health conditions.
The Senegalese health minister also took this opportunity to announce that his country, in order to show “African solidarity,” will offer The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau, a total of 20,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which is 10 percent of its first batch of 200,000 doses, acquired from the Chinese firm Sinopharm.
Senegal plans to vaccinate all those who wish to receive COVID-19 jabs by 2022.
In an interview with an international radio, Senegalese President Macky Sall pleaded for a massive vaccination that would make it possible to immunize the populations and “reduce the risk of infection” against the spread of coronavirus.
Senegal, which reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on March 2, 2020, has so far recorded 33,242 positive cases, including 27,694 recoveries and 832 deaths.