The Gambia’s Ministry of Health has announced that the Sinopharm vaccine will be rollout on 17 July.

The ministry’s announcement comes hours after authourities ordered a compulsory wearing of face masks amid concern about a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Sukuta Health Centre has been identified for now, as the only site where one can get vaccinated with the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine.

“The vaccine will be given on a first come first have basis, thus individuals should rush to the centre on Saturday starting at 9am to get their shot. 

“For one to be fully protected with the vaccine, individuals need to receive two doses at an interval of 3 – 4 weeks.

“The Ministry would like to remind those who received their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine that they should not receive a different vaccine apart from AstraZeneca. 

“The Ministry hereby re-assures those who could not get their second eligible dose of AstraZeneca as a result of stock-out, that they will subsequently receive their due dose, as preparations are underway for the availability of more doses of AstraZeneca vaccine,” Gambia Government spokesman Ebrima G Sankareh said.

He said vaccination against Covid-19 is essential to bring this outbreak under control but alone it will not be sufficient.

“Observing social distancing, wearing of face mask, avoiding overcrowded places, avoiding handshaking, frequent hand sanitizing and washing hands with soap and clean water are critical intervention strategies,” he added.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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