Banjul, 03 April 2023 – The Ministry of Health has received 500,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines from Spain, representing one of the largest COVID-19 vaccine donations to The Gambia since the outbreak of the pandemic. The vaccines were delivered by UNICEF on behalf of the COVAX facility.
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“The Ministry of Health acknowledges and applauds the immense support of the government and people of Spain and of the European Union in general in our fight to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, Minister of Health of The Gambia. “Thearrival of these vaccines has been crucial in helping us vaccinate more than 158,000 people across The Gambian in less than two weeks.”
This donation of new generation updated mRNA vaccines arrived at a critical period when the country has been stepping up efforts to increase the percentage of fully vaccinated individuals in The Gambia.
“The Spanish government remains strongly committed to sharing COVID-19 vaccines with the world, especially countries that need support the most,” said Ana Gracia Gallego, Spanish Chargéed’affairesto The Gambia. “Spain and Team Europe will continue to remain in solidarity with the rest of the world in our collective efforts to vaccinate as many people as possible and protect everyone from the pandemic.”
“This donation represents, yet again, the strong commitment of Spain and Team Europe to supporting The Gambia’s efforts to vaccinate and protect everyone in the country from COVID-19,” said Gordon Jonathan Lewis, UNICEF The Gambia Representative. “The vaccines donated by Spain have been pivotal in helping The Gambia raise its national vaccination coverage from 18% to 21% of fully vaccinated people in less than a month, an important leap towards the 70% national vaccination target.”
“Team Europe remains a strong and committed partner in the fight to end the pandemic and is one of the biggest contributors to the COVAX mechanism,” said Corrado Pampaloni, EU Ambassador to The Gambia. “We thank the Government of Spain, the Ministry of Health of The Gambia and COVAX partners for the excellent example of collaboration in the area of emergency public health.”
These updated vaccines include a component of the original virus strain to provide broad protection against COVID-19 and a component of the omicron variant to provide better protection.
The Gambia continues to deploy different strategies to vaccinate as many eligible people as possible and remains committed to reaching the national target of vaccinating at least 70% of the population.