By Tabora Bojang
The Ministry of Health has clarified that contrary to rumours of Covid-19 vaccine shortage in The Gambia, vaccines are still available but in a limited number.
From February The Gambia received at least 51,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine under the Covax scheme and another 10,000 doses of the Chinese Sinopharm donated by Senegal.
Rumours of a severe shortage of the vaccine in The Gambia came amid a deadly second Covid wave in India which manufactures the AstraZeneca vaccine exacerbating concerns over its lack of distribution to poor countries.
But speaking to The Standard last evening, the director of health services Dr Mustapha Bittaye said: “We still have some vaccines. Generally, AstraZeneca is dwindling fast and the additional stock that we were expecting in April could not get here because of India’s second wave because they say they need it more.
“We have not reached an acute stage but this has posed a huge concern because we need more vaccines. India was producing the vaccine en mass and distributing it to other countries. Even though the Indian companies have contracts to distribute the vaccine to other countries, they were overpowered and have no options but supply internally.”
Although he declined to give figures, Dr Bittaye said despite the low stock of the AstraZeneca the country can count on the 10,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine.