Senegal on Tuesday began its vaccination campaign against the coronavirus with 200,000 doses of vaccines bought from China. The country received shipment of the Sinopharm vaccines last week.
Government ministers, health workers at the health ministry in Dakar were the first to have been given the first jab.
The francophone speaking West African nation is one of the first in the sub-region to begin inoculating its population against the virus. So far, it has registered 33,242 and 832 fatalities.
Senegal is hoping to inoculate about 90% of a targeted 3.5 million people. Health workers, high-risk persons between 19 and 60 are expected to be vaccinated by the end of the year. There are 16 million people in the country.
Senegal is eligible for the COVAX programme, a WHO backed programme expected to deliver vaccines to those who need them most. During the virtual meeting of G7 leaders last Friday, the European Union announced it had donated a further 500 million euros to the COVAX programme.
According to the Senegalese health minister, it expects the 1.3 million doses by early March. It comes at no cost to the West African nation.
The government is now negotiating with Russia for its Sputnik V vaccine, after paying some $3.74 million (more than 2 billion CFA francs) for the Sinopharm vaccine.
The country will donate 10,000 doses each of its Sinopharm vaccines to neighbors like Guinea Bissau and Gambia, the health minister said.