Coronavirus Vaccinations in Algeria Have Officially Begun
A symbolic launch for Algeria on Saturday of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign with the first dose of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine going to a 65-year-old retiree at a health unit in the town Bilda situated at about 40 kilometres southwest of the capital, Algiers.
Limam Zineb, a resident of Blida. shares why she came out to get her shot.
"It was my son who told me (about the vaccination) and I was very happy about it so I came as quickly as I could. At least it will give us some rest of mind and less stressed about being so careful all day long. May God protect us from this punishment."
A High Moment During the Second Wave of the Pandemic
Algerians have been frustrated by repeated broken promises of an imminent vaccine rollout amid growing concerns about President Abdelmadjid Tebboune who has been in Germany since early January for treatment of coronavirus-related complications.
In contrast, the occasion was a sort of cull circle positive moment as it was in this town that the country's first coronavirus infection case was confirmed in March.
Yacine Ali Messaoud, a health worker, came out to set an example for his peers and patriots.
"I'm young and I don't have any chronic diseases, and I came to set an example for the young people of my region and Algerians in general, so they don't feel fear and can be vaccinated."
Only the First Step in a Big Health Operation
Algeria received its first shipment of coronavirus vaccines on Friday at Boufarik military airport, west of Algiers.
Authorities did not indicate how many doses arrived, though the government stated it had ordered a first batch of 500,000 doses and is also negotiating the acquisition of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Dr Omran Fatma Zahra, the Head of Department for Community Medicine at Ouled Yaich health unit, gave an inside look at how the event played out.
"We were apprehensive about people coming to get the vaccine but, in the end, there were a lot of people. We have just vaccinated about twenty people with chronic diseases who are under observation. So, it's going very well."
Algeria has lost at least 2,884 lives to the COVID-19 pandemic and confirmed more than 106,000 cases.