Senegal to vaccinate all teachers, students before school year: health minister

FILE—In this Wednesday, July 28, 2021 file photo, a health worker administers a dose of Janssen COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson in the Medina neighborhood in Dakar, Senegal. Thousands of new coronavirus cases have been reported in West Africa in recent weeks amid low vaccination rates and the spread of the delta variant. Officials say cases have risen sharply in Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria and elsewhere. (AP Photo/Leo Correa, File)
A health worker administers a dose of Janssen COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson in the Medina neighborhood in Dakar, Senegal on July 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Senegalese health authorities are working to vaccinate all teachers and students before their return to schools and universities in October, Senegalese Minister of Health and Social Action Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr said Friday while receiving donations of vaccines from partner countries and organizations.

“These donations will allow us to have a more targeted vaccination strategy. It is true that all regions of Senegal have received their doses, but in the current context, we are going to work with a more refined targeting strategy as the school year begins,” Sarr said.

“We are going to make sure that every teacher who comes into class is vaccinated. This is extremely important for our strategy. Additionally, as universities reopen, we are going to make sure that every student is vaccinated,” he added.

According to the minister, his department is working with universities and educational centers to provide the necessary doses for students.

“We also ask the regional centers for the management of epidemics in each region to make sure that every teacher is vaccinated. But besides the students and teachers, we must ensure that this message reaches the families and parents of students. We must accelerate the work on a more targeted strategy to significantly reduce the lethality of this virus and to ensure that COVID-19 remains merely a bad memory in our country,” he said.

After a second wave marked by an increase in new infections and deaths from COVID-19 between June and mid-August, Senegal has seen the situation improving for two weeks. There is a drastic drop in the number of new infections, as well as a decrease in the number of serious cases and deaths.

Since the appearance of the coronavirus in March 2020, Senegal has reported 73,391 positive cases, including 66,015 recoveries, 1,826 deceased patients and 5,549 patients under treatment. Almost 1.2 million people have been vaccinated since the launch of the vaccination campaign.