DAKAR, Senegal, October 18, 2021 / APO Group / –
Senegal received today 298,700 additional doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, donated by the Government of Portugal through the COVAX facility. The vaccine doses were officially received at the Extended Immunization Program (EPI) depot in Dakar, in the presence of the Minister of Health and Social Action, Mr. Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and to the Cooperation of Portugal, Mr. Francisco André, and COVAX partners including WHO and UNICEF.
This new batch of vaccines comes at a critical time and coincides with the time when African leaders are mobilizing for equitable access to vaccines around the world. All over Africa, celebrities and influencers signed and shared an open letter calling on the leaders of rich countries to honor their pledges to deliver emergency doses to Africa. Portugal thus joins the list of countries which support equitable access to vaccines by mobilizing additional doses for Senegal.
“Senegal is the first country, apart from the traditional partners of Portuguese cooperation, to receive vaccines from Portugal. Bringing Portugal’s contribution to the Senegalese people in this fight against COVID-19, I am in Dakar today to show our solidarity. This delivery of 298,700 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, as part of the COVAX initiative, will allow Senegal to move forward in the vaccination process, reflecting the very strong links between our two peoples ”declared Mr. Francisco André.
The COVAX facility is an international solidarity mechanism set up for low and lower middle income countries to ensure equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines. Through this mechanism, Senegal has already received several batches of vaccines from the United States, France, China, the United Kingdom, Belgium and now from Portugal. This new batch will increase the availability of vaccines and allow the intensification of vaccinations in the country. As of October 17, 2021, more than 1,279,885 million people have been vaccinated in Senegal.
“Vaccines allow us to come together, side by side – in schools, communities and places of worship. They are the best hope we have to end the COVID-19 pandemic, ”said Georges Gonzales, deputy representative of UNICEF in Senegal. UNICEF welcomed the sign of solidarity expressed by the Portuguese Government for equitable access to vaccines. “The way out of the pandemic is clear. But we can only get out of it together,” he added.
As a key partner of COVAX, UNICEF leads the procurement and supply of vaccines and is responsible for ensuring that countries are ready and prepared to receive and deliver vaccines. UNICEF is working with the government to strengthen and prepare supply chains in the country, train health workers, build confidence in vaccines by working with communities and tackling misinformation and other obstacles.
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