By Boris Esono Nwenfor
With the country said to be in its second wave of coronavirus officials in Cameroon say the first doses of vaccine against the health pandemic will arrive in the country on April 11. Cameroon is said to receive 200,000 doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine.
Over 500 vaccination centres that will be involved in administering the vaccines have been identified across the country. Dr Shalom Ndoula, Permanent Secretary of the Expanded Program on Immunization says the vaccines will be dispatched to these vaccination centres as soon as they arrive in the country.
This will be the first phase of vaccination exercise in the country and people don’t need to take the jab. Frontline health caregivers, teachers, taxi and bus drivers, and motorbike riders are among the target groups of persons to receive the vaccines. Authorities say other persons willing to be administered the vaccine will be permitted to do so after the persons at risks should have been vaccinated.
Dr Shalom Ndoula said: “The first vaccination will be just for a small group of people who are at risk, and very exposed especially people with pre-existing health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, which are at high risk of severe forms of COVID.”
The arrival of this vaccine will be to fulfil a promise the Chinese Ambassador made to Cameroon’s Minister of External Relations. In early March, the Chinese Ambassador to Cameroon, Wang Yingwu had a meeting with the Minister of External Relations, Lejuene Mbella Mbella, during which he announced that his country will offer 200,000 samples of the COVID19 vaccines to Cameroon.
This is a major shift for a country that continues to see cases on an upward trajectory. It is also a major shift in the type of vaccine that the country will be receiving.
A few weeks back, Russia had indicated that their Sputnik V vaccine will be sent to Cameroon after the country declined the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine due to complications.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund) announced the approval of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Cameroon on March 19 2021. The government of Cameroon has yet to officially confirm this information and the Minister of Public Health is also muted on the matter.
“Africa is among the leaders in terms of the number of approval of Sputnik V. We welcome the decision of the Ministry of Health of Cameroon which will help the population of the country to obtain access to one of the best solutions against coronavirus in the world,” Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russia Direct Investment Fund said as quoted by Pharmieweb.
According to the Minister of Public Health Dr Manaouda Malachie the country currently has a total of 61, 731 cases of COVID-19 with 56, 926 have recovered. There have been 919 deaths since the first cases were detected in the country in March last year.