DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Senegal launched its COVID-19 vaccination campaign Tuesday in the capital, Dakar, where the health minister received the first jab of China’s Sinopharm vaccine.
“This day is a historic day” Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr said after getting the injection.
The West African nation received 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine last week. Shots now are being given to health care workers, people over age 60 and individuals with underlying health conditions.
The health minister also announced that Senegal is negotiating with Russia to buy the Sputnik V vaccine. In March, the country is also expecting to get nearly 1.3 million vaccine doses through the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative.
As a gesture of “solidarity,” the minister said Senegal will share 10% of the 200,000 Sinopharm doses with neighboring countries Gambia and Guinea Bissau.
“Senegal is one of seven countries -among the 54 countries of the African continent- to start the vaccination against COVID-19, the minister said.
As of Tuesday, Senegal, a country of 16 million, has registered more than 33,000 cases of COVID-19 and 814 deaths, according to the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.