By Binta S Jawo
According to the MoH’s Director of Health Promotion and Education, Mr Modou Njai over 500,000 people have been vaccinated after the latest Covid-19 Nationwide Vaccination Campaign which ended on 20th August 2022.
The Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) under the Ministry of Health (MoH) held a press conference on Thursday 11th August 2022 notifying the media that they have started another nationwide Covid 19 vaccination campaign. One of the main objectives of the 10 days campaign (11th-20th August 2022) is to attain 70% vaccine coverage for the population by the end of this year.
This means that the Gambia needs to vaccinate an additional 50% of the population to achieve the World Health Organisation Target for countries to vaccinate 70% of their population to improve immunity.
During his welcoming remarks, the Deputy Director of Health Promotion, Sanjally Trawally added that the vaccines have reduced hospitalization of the public on Covid-related cases which proves their effectiveness. He urged the public to seize the opportunity to take the vaccines to protect them from the deadly virus.
The Program Manager at EPI, Sidat Fofana said he is grateful to all their partners who are always ready to give a helping hand. Mr Fofana urged the public especially those with under-lining health conditions to take the vaccine. He revealed that their teams on the ground will administer vaccines to children as young as 12 years because they are potential carriers of the virus.
The Communications officer at EPI, Madam Aja Kandeh did a presentation on the successes and challenges they are faced with.
According to Madam Kandeh, at the start of the 10 days campaign, 18.5% of the population have received the vaccines. She stated that there are three different vaccines (Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Sinopharm) available for roll-out to the public. She was quick to stress the need for individuals to keep their vaccination cards safe in case of international travel.
Considering that 18.5% of the population were vaccinated at the start of the campaign and now 20% of the population have been reported to be vaccinated this highlights that less than 2% of the population were vaccinated during the 10-day campaign.
Some of the challenges faced by officials on the vaccination campaign include vaccine hesitancy and misinformation of the public on the vaccine.