By Nelson Manneh
The Minister of Health Dr Ahmed Lamin Samateh has recently informed the media that the first Covax vaccine received by the government will cater for only 20% of the population, which are about 487,780 people.
“The Covax vaccine in town will cater for only 20% of the population throughout the country. The allocation will be able to vaccinate all aged 41 years and above including priority groups summing up to 487, 780 based on projected population census 2013,” he said.
The outbreak of COVID-19 diseases in 2019 has brought unprecedented and new way of global health challenges throughout the world overwhelming health systems and disrupting all aspects of life and services throughout the world.
The Gambia as of Saturday 6th March 2020 registered four thousand, seven hundred and thirty-five confirmed cases. Of these, four thousand, one hundred and eleven cases have recovered from the virus, one hundred and fifty-one deaths were recorded and four hundred and seventy-three are active cases.
Minister Samateh said addressing and combating the deadly virus requires a new way of thinking and approach.
“As we have seen from the beginning of the outbreak up to now, no individual government has all the means at its disposal to fight the pandemic single-handedly; instead the whole world embarked on an unprecedented search for a quick means of curbing the spreading and combating the diseases,” he said.
Dr. Samateh said his ministry will continue to deliver essential curative and preventive health care services through reproductive maternal adolescence and child health while they battle with the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the establishment of Covax facility by Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization by World Health Organization and Committee for Epidemic Initiative, was to help mobilize and pool resources to enable lower and middle-income countries have access to high quality vaccine which is seen to be the only intervention that can bring the pandemic under control.
Samateh said healthcare workers (both public and private), people leaving with chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, elderly people, 65 years and above, teachers, immigration, security apparatus of all categories will be vaccinated in the coming weeks.
“The Gambia population is known to be highly receptive to vaccination since the establishment of the National Immunization Program in May 1979,” he said.