By: Nyima Sillah
At least 21.3% of the population has been declared fully vaccinated while 26.9% have taken one dose of the vaccine as the round 9 campaign of Covid-19 recently concluded across the country.
This latest information was disclosed to this reporter by Mr. Gibril Gando Baldeh, Senior Health Communication Officer at the Health Communication Unit of the Directorate of Health Promotion and Education of the Ministry of Health.
Mr. Baldeh said they are yet to reach the targeted number of the population which is 70% while having about 50-49% that are yet to be vaccinated.
“The Ministry is not relenting in its efforts to achieve this target, the only surest way of protecting the Gambian population from another Covid-19 wave, another variant, or from another disaster. So, as a ministry we will not relent, we will continue pushing, engaging, and sensitizing the population until we reach our target.”
He noted that the Ministry and the Government aim to vaccinate 70% of the population and this is also the best practice that has been approved by WHO for all countries in the world to at least get 70% of their population vaccinated.
“We all know Covid-19 came as a surprise to the world and since that many rumors and speculations came before the arrival or manufacturing of the vaccines. This is one of the contributing challenges that we face in trying to reach our target,” he noted.
Mr. Baldeh stressed that the rumor circulating about the vaccine makes people hesitate to be vaccinated, adding they are using their entire communication channel to sensitize people in making sure that these rumors are demystified and people get accurate information about the vaccine.
Meanwhile, he added, reaching the 70% or 90% target for the vaccine in the Gambia is not new because the Gambia is known to be one of the best three countries when it comes to achieving their target vaccination.
According to him, they vaccinated 12-13 diseases in the Gambia like polio, yellow fever, and more, noting these are vaccines that people use on daily bases. And the country has scored nothing less than 90% when it comes to recovery.
However, he said many diseases in the Gambia are no longer in existence because of the vaccines, saying that the availability of these vaccines has gone a long way in protecting the people in the country.