By Adama Tine
Despite the misinformation and disinformation regarding the safety of the Covid-19 vaccines in The Gambia, the Ministry of Health has confirmed that 10% of the population had been fully vaccinated.
Ms Mamanding Kinteh, senior vaccine officer at the Ministry of Health made the disclosures at a press conference held on Tuesday at the Central Medical Store in Kotu. According to her, their target is to vaccinate 1.4 million of the population as a way to fight the deadly Covid-19 virus that has not only killed millions in the world but has also greatly retarded development in all affected countries.
She added that they have administered 139,367 doses of J&J, 5,682 of Sinopharm and 48,483 of the AstraZeneca Vaccine. “For Sinopharm we vaccinated 4,457 for the first dose and for the second dose we have vaccinated 1,225. For AstraZeneca, we have vaccinated 31,271 for the first dose and 17,212 for the second dose.”
The percentage of target population fully vaccinated by regions in the seven health regions is about 10.3% of the population. She further said that, those vaccinated in CRR is 17.8%, in LRR 11.1%, in NBER 16.0%, in NBWR 10.9%, in URR 9.5%, in WR1 7.6%, and in WR2 10.1%. She said they have two implementation strategies which are fixed and mobile outreach, noting that the mobile outreach is more impactful. She added that more women are vaccinated than men going by the total doses of vaccines administered per region by sex.
“The highest among priority groups vaccinated is the community workers with 105.1%, seconded by health workers with 66.4%, hoteliers 19.8%, those aged 65 and above 17.8%, security forces 15.2%, and the least vaccinated is those with pre-existing conditions with a percentage of 5.1%.
The vaccines, she added, are being administered under strict supervision. “Vaccinators are not left alone. We have a pool of supervisors that are frequently in the field to monitor what is happening. Though we have qualified and well trained health workers, we want to ensure that vaccines are given at the highest quality.”
Sidat Fofana, programme manager, Expanded Programme on Immunization, said their main issue with regard to the vaccination is hesitancy. “People were spreading false information and were discouraging other people from taking the vaccine.”
He added that the only thing that is going to save us is following the preventive measures and taking the vaccines, saying the country is currently using three types of vaccines which are all effective.