Wednesday, March 22

Gambia vaccinates against Covid-19 to achieve 70% coverage

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The Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) under the Directorate Health Services at the Ministry of Health on Wednesday began a nationwide aggressive Covid-19 campaign targeting children aged 12 and above.
With a current vaccination rate of 18% presenting a little over 625,000 people nationwide, the latest exercise, which is the ninth round, according to officials, would help in closing the gaps and surely meeting the nationwide target vaccination coverage of 70%.

However, since the start of the exercise, one word that remains a mantra is that Covid-19 is not going any time soon and people should vaccinate to minimise the rate of contracting or spreading the deadly virus.

Speaking to journalists on Thursday, Michael M. Mendy, acting director of Health Promotion and Education under the Directorate of Health Services at the Ministry of Health, said that was the ninth round of the mass covid-19 vaccination, adding that with the other round conducted earlier on, the country is still below reaching its target rate.

“So, coming up with this one would definitely help to boost the immunity of the population because we are targeting 70% nation coverage and where we are right now is still far from reaching that target,” Mr Mendy said.

The nationwide exercise, he added, would help people, especially those who haven’t yet received the previous jab, to have the opportunity to get vaccinated to prevent themselves from the deadly virus.

Misinformation and disinformation being spread on social media since the inception of the vaccination exercise about vaccines, he said, has affected the whole process as indicated in the low vaccination coverage.

He, however, said that as a Ministry they were able to dispel some of those misconceptions regarding the vaccines being administered, further assuring the populace that the vaccine being used is safe and effective.

He also spoke about some aggressive campaign used to dispel those misinformation, adding that the advantages of getting vaccinated far outweigh the disadvantages.

Sidat Fofana, programme manager at the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) under the Directorate of Health Services at the Ministry of Health, reiterated that “the pandemic is still with us and that the only way to get rid of the pandemic is to vaccinate”.

He informed that there is no other way people can protect themselves apart from being vaccinated. “That is the most effective in preventing one from severe ailment or even hospitalization.”

The nationwide exercise is to help the people of the country, he added, further expressing concern about the low vaccination coverage in the country.

Children aged 12 and above are being targeted during this latest round, he reiterated, calling on parents, caregivers, guardians and elders to encourage their children to take the jab.

On a conducted tour of public ‘bantabas’ within Western One Health Region, students could be seen taking the jab, something that indicates that more and more people are beginning to realise the benefits of Covid-19 vaccines.