DAKAR, June 3 (Reuters) – France has donated 184,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to Senegal through the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility, the programme’s sponsors said in a statement on Thursday.
This is the second batch of COVID-19 vaccines Senegal has received through the global scheme, after an initial 324,000 AstraZeneca doses arrived in March.
The arrival of the latest batch is timely. Senegal’s supply of vaccines is running low just as thousands of people are due for their second jabs. Most of the country’s 16 million citizens have yet to receive a first dose.
Around 456,000 people in Senegal had been vaccinated as of Tuesday, programme sponsors said, thanks to a combination of doses acquired through COVAX and purchased from China.
Senegal has recorded around 41,500 coronavirus cases and 1,142 deaths since the pandemic began, according to figures from the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some 1.5 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally, but only around 1% of them in Africa, according to the World Health Organization.
France’s donation to Senegal follows pledges from several large economies to increase contributions to COVAX, which is backed by the WHO and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and aims to secure 2 billion vaccine doses for lower-income countries by the end of this year.
(Reporting by Bate Felix Writing by Cooper Inveen Editing by Frances Kerry)
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