Senegal Begins Coronavirus Vaccination with China’s Sinopharm

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Senegal is one of the countries in the continent that has reported a daily surge in coronavirus cases. Two weeks ago, the country’s head of state, President Macky Sally, declared a state of emergency. He announced that two regions: Dakar and Thies, will be under curfew starting from 9 pm to 5 am. The President did not specify how long the measure will last but instead urged the people to abide by the safety rules as they were battling the coronavirus.

The new measure came when Dakar, the country’s most impacted region, confirmed 90% of its total cases. Recently, the state kicked off its first vaccination campaigns.

Vaccination in Senegal

On Wednesday, Senegal received its first shipment of China’s Sinopharm vaccination doses. According to the country’s Finance Minister, the quantities amounted to 3.8 million US dollars. A big kudos to China as it has been walking in solidarity with Africa amid the pandemic. In addition to Sinopharm, Senegal expects about 1.3 million vaccines from the World Health Organization’s COVAX Initiative Programme.

President Macky decided to celebrate their progress during a televised ceremony. He stated the vaccination plans, which mostly prioritized the health workers who are front liners in curbing the virus.

“The urgency today is to protect our health workers on the frontline against the pandemic. It is also to protect people over 60 years old and those living with comorbidity. We will begin vaccinating people in these three categories as they are the priority.”

He added that vaccines’ storage wouldn’t be a problem for them, as they had received 1117 WHO-approved freezers. Moreover, in the coming weeks, they anticipate receiving more batches of the vaccines. In that, once they have a total of 6790,000 doses, they will begin mass immunization.

Is there a Possibility of Senegal Producing COVID-19 Vaccines?

Many controversies have arisen on the equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines. Different authorities have accused developed states of hoarding the vaccines at the expense of low-income countries. Nevertheless, the rich countries are forgetting that the pandemic is an endemic covering the whole world. Therefore fair distribution from all corners is essential.

Meanwhile, the controversies have prompted Senegal to start thinking of local manufacturing of the vaccines. The suggestion may come to pass as Senegal’s Institut Pasteur is a certified yellow fever vaccine producer. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine believes that Africa has know-how that should be put to the test.

The country’s head of state also asked the Institut Pasteur in Dakar to examine the possibility of manufacturing the vaccines. Of course, if the possibility happens to be a dream come true, Senegal will have a lot to save and much money to make. And it could also reduce vaccine conflicts as they would be increased producers. President Sall also called on the Minister for Health to undertake all necessary logistical, financial, and social mobilization for the vaccination campaign launch. The onset of immunization in the country has ignited joy as residents remain hopeful.

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