Senegal became the first West African country to begin its coronavirus vaccination campaign after government officials, health workers and its health ministry receives shots of China’s Sinopharm in Dakar.
The West African country began its coronavirus vaccination campaign on Tuesday with 200,000 doses that it purchased from China’s Sinopharm, which it received last week.
Senegal is one of the first in the region to start vaccinating its population against COVID-19; as it has so far recorded over 33,099 cases and 814 deaths from the disease.
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 (WHO) COVAX programme which is yet to arrive in the country.
Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the Senegalese government paid a little over 2 billion CFA francs ($3.74 million) for the Sinopharm doses to kickstart its campaign.
Senegal’s health minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr said in a brief speech after receiving the vaccine that, as a sign of solidarity with other African nations, Senegal would give 10,000 doses of each of the vaccines to smaller neighbours like the Gambia and Guinea Bissau.
Senegal aims to inoculate about 90% of a targeted 3.5 million people, including health workers and high-risk individuals between the ages of 19 and 60, by the end of 2021. The country’s population is about 16 million.