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Senegal Receives COVID-19 Vaccines from China’s Sinopharm

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Senegal’s president, Macky Sall, says his government has bought and received 200,000 doses of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines from the Chinese firm, Sinopharm.

Sall’s Government has started the process of acquiring other vaccines apart from the 200,000 doses from Sinopharm and will receive 6.798 million doses in the coming weeks for mass vaccination.

The chartered flight carrying the Sinopharm vaccines departed Beijing, China’s capital, on Wednesday and arrived Senegal in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Sall and his wife, Marieme Faye, as well as other senior government officials, Chinese Ambassador to Senegal Xiao Han and representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) attended the delivery ceremony at Blaise Diagne International Airport in Ndiass, southeast Senegal.

Sall said the government paid for the vaccine, and did not wait to receive doses from the World Health Organization’s Covax scheme, which aims to make it easier for developing nations to buy them.

Frontline health workers, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions are first in line for the shot.

Senegal has seen a spike in Covid cases and deaths in recent weeks. To date, the country has recorded 31,771 confirmed cases and 769 deaths.

To curb the second wave, the authorities have tightened restrictions, including banning gatherings, requiring people to wear masks in public places and imposing a curfew from 21:00 to 05:00 in the hardest hit areas – the capital, Dakar, and the city of Thies.

Last week, Sall announced that vaccinations would begin at the end of February, starting with medical personnel and people at risk.

The country’s Minister of Health and Social Action has been directed to take all the health, logistical, financial and social mobilization arrangements necessary for launching vaccination campaigns throughout the country.

Senegal is also expecting nearly 1.3 million vaccine doses through the COVAX initiative, has already received 1,117 freezers approved by WHO for the storage of vaccines and cold rooms have been installed.

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COVID-19: World Bank Pledges 30 African Countries Vaccine Grants

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Not less than thirty African countries will be helped by the World Bank through emergency funding for the procurement of vaccines.

Many African countries are yet to start vaccination programmes although Western nations have already vacccinated millions of people.

A larger percentage of African nations rely on the WHO-backed COVAX facility which has shipped vaccines to three African countries already; Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

The World Bank says funds are being prepared for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Niger, Mozambique, Tunisia, eSwatini, Rwanda, Senegal, amongst others but failed to reveal how much they will be getting to aid their vaccines procurement.

The bank has said the funds are available and will be given out as grants to African countries or on highly concessional terms.

A spokesperson of the World Bank said it is the first time the bank will financially back an immunisation plan.

Africa is not as ravaged as the rest of the world but with more than 100,000 deaths recorded so far, the CDC has said it is not in a good place.

Dr. John Nkegasong, the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control noted the continent has no business recording as many deaths as it has done.

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Zambia to Recruit 395 Health Workers for COVID-19 Fight

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Zambia’s Minister of Health, Jonas Chanda, has announced plans to recruit 395 health workers to lessen the burden on the workforce worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chanda confirmed that President Edgar Lungu had authorised the hiring of more health workers as part of the COVID-19 response.

“The epidemiology of the COVID-19 has contributed to an unprecedented increase in the demands on the healthcare workforce, and simultaneously
diminished health worker supply,” he said in a statement.

“The ministry has also employed the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes platform to enhance the capacity of the current staff through
mentorship and case management”, said the official.

Chanda acknowledged that the country had seen reduced numbers of COVID-19 cases in the past one week, but warned against complacency.

According to him, more efforts need to be exerted in order to sustain the gains and prevent an anticipated third wave in the cold season.

Zambia recorded 555 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the cumulative cases to 79,557. The cases were picked from 6,266 tests done,
representing a nine per cent positivity.

During the same period, the country recorded six deaths, bringing the total deaths to 1,104, while 476 patients were discharged,
bringing the total recoveries to 75,563.

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Nigeria Receives First Batch Of COVID-19 Vaccines

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The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from the World Health Organisation and GAVI’s COVAX facility has arrived Nigeria.

The vaccines were received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory on Tuesday morning.

Nigeria has received 3.92million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the first batch and it is expected to be administered on health workers, people who work in the essential service areas and some other citizens.

The vaccines with the brand name COVIShield is made as a patent of AstraZeneca vaccine, by the Serum Institute of India.

Nigeria is West Africa’s worst-hit country with 156,017 cases and 1915 deaths recorded so far at a fatality rate of 1.22%, which is lower than the African average of more than 2.5% fatality.

COVAX vaccination programmes have already started in Ivory Coast and Ghana, with President Nana Akufo-Addo and his wife receiving the vaccines publicly on Monday in Accra.

The vaccination rollout and scheduling will be handled by the Nigerian Primary Healthcare board.

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