The Ministry of Health has received 151,200 doses of Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines from the Government of France through the COVAX facility. This is the second such donation which brings the total number of COVID-19 vaccines donated by France to The Gambia via the COVAX facility in less than a year to 189,600 doses.
“The Ministry of Health is appreciative of the generous support of the French government and the European Union,” said Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, Minister of Health of The Gambia. “With these contributions, we are better positioned to vaccinate and protect as many people as possible.”
These vaccines will significantly increase the country’s COVID-19 vaccine stock and boost vaccination. The vaccines arrived in the country at a critical juncture as the Ministry of Health moves to scale up vaccination through regular campaigns that bring COVID-19 vaccines closer to the people across the country, thereby creating the much needed herd immunity to further protect the country from new variants.
“Solidarity around the sharing of COVID-19 vaccines has become one of the priorities of the French government,” said Jean-Charles Allard, French Head of Mission to The Gambia. “France was the first country to share doses under the COVAX scheme a year ago, and only delivers vaccines approved for its own population.”
“This most recent contribution reconfirms the generosity and solidarity of the French people and government,” said Gordon Jonathan Lewis, UNICEF The Gambia Representative. “It also shows that vaccine multilateralism is a critical strategy to help countries like The Gambia reach the target of fully vaccinating 70% of the population.”
“Team Europe – the EU countries and the EU institutions – act together to fight the pandemic as one of the biggest contributors to the COVAX mechanism,” said Corrado Pampaloni, EU Ambassador to The Gambia. “We thank the Government of France and COVAX implementing partners, UNICEF and WHO”
“The arrival of this batch of vaccines is a great opportunity to boost The Gambia’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage towards achieving the target of 70 per cent vaccination coverage,” said Dr Desta Alamerew Tiruneh, World Health Organization Representative to The Gambia.
Currently, The Gambia possesses a stock of more than 366,500 vaccines from different manufacturers some of which is stored in the new ultra-cold chain facility that has a capacity of holding up to 1.7 million doses of vaccines at any given moment.
COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, the World Bank, and others. It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.