The donation came at a time when the country is experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of Covid-19 confirmed deaths and recorded cases. This has raised an alarm to the ministry to include the participation of religious leaders to help advocate in the massive vaccination campaign to combat the spread of the virus.
Addressing the gathering, Dr. Ahmed Lamin Samateh, the minister for Health said the vaccines are safe and effective and urged the public to take the vaccines to help end the spread of the virus. He revealed that over 53,700 people have been vaccinated in one week.
Minister Samateh expressed delight at the US government for the gesture, adding that the arrival of the vaccines would restore hope in the fight against the pandemic.
He said coronavirus is real and that people should take it seriously. “We have lost friends and relatives from the pandemic,” Dr. Samateh said. “We are all at risk of Covid-19 because we are human beings and we can only be safe if we are vaccinated,” he said.
He added that the involvement of religious leaders in the fight against the pandemic is very instrumental as people listen and follow their advice.
He said this is the second batch of the vaccines the ministry has received from the U.S. government.
“We are now seeing people coming out in their large numbers to take the vaccines because they began to understand that the vaccines are safe and effective,” he said.
Dr. Samateh added that at the ministry’s level they target to vaccinate 100% of the country’s population. However, he said 5.5% have received some forms of vaccinations, adding that 4.2% have been fully vaccinated.
The U.S. ambassador to The Gambia, Richard Carl Paschall, said the vaccines are safe and effective and people can use the vaccines to be protected from contracting the virus.
Ambassador Paschall reassured of the U.S. government’s commitment to support The Gambia in the fight against the pandemic. “No country is safe until everybody is safe,” said H.E. Richard Carl Paschall.
He urged people to take the vaccines in order to minimise the risk of contracting the virus and also to protect their families from the risk of contracting the virus.
Religious leaders who also witnessed the arrival of the vaccines called on the public to take the vaccines so that the pandemic can be defeated. “It has been more than a year and we are still experiencing the challenges posed by the pandemic,” religious leaders said. “We can only put this to an end by prayers and taking the vaccines.”
The Gambia had registered 7,709 confirmed cases of the coronavirus pandemic of which 6,600 have recovered with 212 lost lives and 897 active cases. Globally, there are 198 million confirmed cases of the virus of which 4.23 million have lost their lives.