The Ministry of Health has received a batch of 37,000 syringes from COVAX, through UNICEF ahead of the coronavirus vaccine doses. 

The batch of syringes was shipped from the Gavi-funded stockpile at UNICEF’s humanitarian warehouse in Dubai and arrived at the Banjul International Airport late Sunday night. 

The shipment also includes 375 safety boxes for the safe disposal of syringes.

“The arrival of these syringes is a springboard that better prepares us for the task ahead – the equitable administration of vaccines to Gambians.

“We are finalising preparations for the vaccine rollout and our priority is to give the first injections to frontline health workers and other vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. 

“Global partnerships and solidarity are taking us further in this journey and we commend all COVAX partners and donors for supporting this worthy cause,” Minister of Health Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh said.

“After more than a year of uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic, hope is now on the horizon,” said Gordon Jonathan Lewis, UNICEF The Gambia Representative. 

“With the delivery of these syringes, we have taken an important step to prepare for a historic vaccination programme in The Gambia. 

“Like all other countries, The Gambia also must have equitable access to sufficient syringes and vaccines to protect its people, especially the most vulnerable groups, from COVID-19.”

“I am delighted with the arrival in The Gambia of the first consignment of syringes from the COVAX facility. The COVID-19 vaccination is safe and effective, it reduces the risk of disease among all vulnerable population groups and saves lives. 

“We look forward to supporting the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccinations, once the vaccines arrive in country in the coming days.” Dr Desta Alamerew Tiruneh, World Health Organization Representative in The Gambia said.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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