Panafrican News Agency

Coronavirus: Gambia receives first consignment of vaccines under COVAX initiative

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) – Gambia has received its first shipment of 36,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the COCAX Facility, less than a week after the Ministry of Health submitted the required documentation for the delivery of the vaccines to the country.

The AstraZeneca vaccines were shipped by the UN Children's Find (UNICEF) on behalf of COVAX, from the Serum Institute of India (SII), and arrived at the Banjul International Airport on Tuesday night.

More shipments of COVID-19 vaccines and syringes are expected in the coming weeks.  With the arrival of this consignment, The Gambia joins other African countries, such as Ghana, Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire and Angola, to receive COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX Facility.

“This is a historic and momentous occasion for The Gambia,” said Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, the Minister of Health of The Gambia.

“Now that both the syringes and vaccines are here, we are expediting our plans to ensure that vaccination of health care workers, those with underlying medical conditions, and elderly people of 65 years and above kicks off soon. I must reiterate that the Government of The Gambia only accepts vaccines that are safe and effective, and these vaccines have passed the test.”

“Today, we have made history, reaffirmed our commitment to vaccine equity, and delivered on our promise to leave no one behind,” said Gordon Jonathan Lewis, UNICEF representative in Gambia.

“By delivering these vaccines, we have taken a giant leap towards recovery for the hundreds of thousands of children and their families affected by the pandemic in this country.  We look forward to working with the Ministry of Health, WHO and other key partners to support the fast roll-out of a landmark immunization campaign.”

-0- PANA MSS/MA 3March2021