The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomed the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines donated by the United States in Africa as the continent grapples with the latest wave of the pandemic amid vaccine shortages.
The Gambia is one of five countries that were among the first to receive vaccines donated by the U.S. to the African Union through the COVAX facility.
The other countries first in line to receive the vaccines were Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Senegal.
“Solidarity is vital in times of crisis. The Region is in the midst of a deadly third wave and sharing COVID-19 vaccines will help save lives,” WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said on Wednesday.
Last week, U.S. officials and GAVI, the vaccine alliance, said 49 African countries will receive 25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.
The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden had been under mounting pressure to boost donations of COVID-19 shots to other countries.
The arrival of the vaccines was good news to the West African nation which, just last month, announced that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was out of stock in the country.
The Gambia, which has an estimated population of 2.3 million people, has recorded 7,161 coronavirus infections, including 197 deaths since the first case was reported in March last year.