The government of the Gambia through the Ministry of the Health and Social Welfare on Thursday 3rd March 2022 received over 100,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine courtesy of the US Government through the COVAX facility.
Speaking on behalf of the US Government Deputy Chief of Mission in Banjul Mr. Jason Willis expressed delight to present 100,620 vaccines to the Gambian people.
“The United States will donate more than 400,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to our Gambian partners. The U.S. government is sharing these doses safely and equitably for the health and well-being of the Gambian people. These vaccine doses are a portion of the $4 billion provided by the United States in support of COVAX, the global initiative to equitably distribute safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines worldwide”
The United States commitment to distribute more than 473 million safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine doses to over 110 countries worldwide with no political strings attached by President Biden has manifested as The Gambia benefits.
Dr. Desta Truneh WHO country representative in the Gambia said the last seven days Covid-19 cases globally are declining in all WHO regions but Africa stands out with the lowest vaccines coverage among the regions of the WHO. He indicated that for the world to mitigate the dreadful impact of the COVID severity and hospitalisation in countries around the world should attain 70% vaccines coverage as soon as possible.
Receiving the vaccines on behalf of the Gambian government, Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh Minister of Health said the Pfizer doses are proven to be booster to other vaccines. Dr. Samateh further stated that the Gambia was initially offered the vaccines by the US government but at the material time there was no cold storage facilities to keep the vaccines but with the installation of a new ultra cold freezes the vaccines can now be safely stored. Dr. Samateh calls on the Gambians to come forward to get vaccinated to reach a 70% vaccination rate.
Dr. Samateh added that there are plans to administer the vaccines to children after consultations with the various technical teams of the Health Ministry.
So far the vaccination rate in the Gambia currently stands at 13% with over 300, 000 people vaccinated. However the vaccines hesitancy still remains mounting challenge which the Ministry of Health is faced with as misinformation around vaccines swells on social media platforms across the country and Africa at large. The Pfizer vaccines are termed as by scientists as 95% efficiency developed by Pfizer/BioNTech which is a messenger RNA vaccine (mRNA). This means it basically reproduces genetic material from the virus, which is then injected into the human body to stimulate an immune response by the production of antibodies.