The Ministry of Health has started vaccinating people above 18 years old with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as the country fight out the third wave of the coronavirus.
People who had received either one or two doses of the AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines are advised not to receive a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson.
The Gambia received a donation of 151,200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson from the government of the United State of America through the COVAX facility following the shortage of AstraZeneca vaccines.
The dispatched press release from the Health Ministry stated that “The Ministry of Health hereby informs the public that, it will embark on the rollout of the vaccine in all parts of the country, starting (yesterday), Monday, 26th July, 2021. Teams of Vaccinators will be deployed at communities and health facilities across the country, as well as in different strategic locations such as “bantabas”, points of entry and other identified areas.
“All individuals above the age of 18 years are eligible to get vaccinated and are required to get only one shot of the vaccine to be fully protected. The vaccination programme is expected to cover about 60% of its population in both urban and rural areas and vaccine will be administered free of charge. The Ministry would like to remind those who received their first dose of either AstraZeneca or Sinopharm vaccine, that they should not receive a different vaccine for their second dose apart from the one they already received,” the Ministry’s health promotion director – Modou Njai stated in the press release.
“The Ministry hereby re-assures those who could not get their second eligible dose of AstraZeneca because of stock-out, that they will subsequently receive their due dose, as preparations are underway for the availability of more doses of AstraZeneca. The public is also reminded that safe and effective vaccination against COVID-19 is essential to bring this outbreak under control but alone will not be sufficient.
“Thus, observing social distancing, wearing of facemask, avoiding overcrowded places, avoiding handshaking, frequent hand sanitizing and washing hands with soap and clean water are critical intervention strategies. The Ministry is, therefore, soliciting the continuous support and cooperation of the public in its efforts to contain COVID-19 in the country. Please call our toll-free line: 1025 for specific vaccination details. You could also follow us on our social media pages for details of specific vaccination sites,” it concluded.