Gambia’s Covid-19 vaccine lifeline


We all thought the coronavirus was on its way into disappearance. We couldn’t have been more wrong. The third wave of the dreaded Covid-19, which has been the most frightening and most infectious so far, has well and truly arrived in The Gambia.

Before the third wave began, the country was registering a few cases a time, with situation reports combining days just to get something to report. However, since the new delta variant arrived in the country, we have seen more cases at a time than anyone could have imagined. From just 14 active cases on 11th June 2021 to nearly one thousand active cases, as of 22nd July. That is staggering and it should scare anyone and everyone in the country.

This situation got worsened after The Gambia ran out of stock for the AstraZeneca vaccines. Just twelve thousand people got fully vaccinated before the doses got finished with Covid cases spiking.


However, just when we thought our health system would be overwhelmed if the trend continues, the United States appeared like our knight in shining armour with over 151,000 doses of J&J vaccine.

The government announced that the first consignment of 151,200 doses United States of America donated Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID- 19 vaccines have arrived in The Gambia.

In total, the U.S. contribution to help The Gambia’s anti-Covid vaccination will be over 304,000 doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the World Health Organization under the Emergency Use Listing (EUL) and the Gambia Medicines Control Agency.

The campaign to get everyone vaccinated, even though we had insufficient doses for a country of over two million people, has been given a new lease of life with the latest donation. This should get the number of those fully vaccinated to a respectable status, given this particular vaccine doesn’t need two shots.

We therefore urge the Ministry of Health to intensify the campaign and get as many people vaccinated as possible.

We also take this opportunity to thank the United States of America for the intervention. We know it is a cliché in The Gambia to say “couldn’t have come at a better time” but, truly, this couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you for the help.