Seychelles became the first African nation to begin its vaccination campaign against the new coronavirus on Sunday, with the country’s political leaders and health workers being the first to take the vaccine, reported Africa News.
“The vaccination campaign will start on Sunday with the country’s leaders, so the population will be able to see the leaders setting an example,” Health Minister Peggy Vidot made the announcement.
The vaccine, which is given to the people of Seychelles, is developed by the Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm with its subsidiary China National Biotec Group (CNBG). Preliminary data from late-stage trials of the Chinese vaccine had shown it to be 79.3% effective.
The health minister said that the country has received 50,000 doses of vaccine in donation from the United Arab Emirates.
President Wavel Ramkalawan was the first one to take the Sinopharm vaccine followed by the vice president, with the cabinet of ministers, and members of the National Assembly.
“It’s exactly as if I was getting any vaccine,” President Ramkalawan said, encouraging all the people of the island nation to get the injection.
The authorities will begin vaccinating health workers on Monday, and then people aged over 65, followed by distribution to the rest of the population. Around a thousand people are expected to be vaccinated every day.
The authorities hope to vaccinate nearly 70 percent of the country’s population in the next two to three months. The entire population of the African island nation is to be vaccinated on a voluntary basis.
Seychelles is also expecting delivery of another 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, a donation from the Indian government, at the end of January.
A total of 531 people have been infected since the start of the pandemic, including one death, but this figure is constantly rising, with an average of more than 20 new infections per day.