By Boris Esono Nwenfor
After reviewing the efficacy of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Cameroon is set to receive some 400,000 doses of the said vaccine for the fight against the coronavirus.
According to the Permanent Secretary of the National Vaccination Program, Joshua Ndoula Shalom, the vaccines are expected in Cameroon on Saturday, April 17.
The arrival of this vaccine presents a boost to the country’s efforts in vaccinating its population against the virus. It will also come a week after the country received its first doses of China’s Sinopham vaccine. 200,000 doses of that vaccine were received by Cameroon’s Prime Minister Dr Dion Ngute and the vaccination exercise has already begun in the country.
Cameroon had earlier suspended the administration of the AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine it was scheduled to receive on March 20 as part of the global vaccines sharing scheme COVAX due to report from countries about blood clot and the suspension by some countries.
The review was submitted by Cameroon’s Minister of Public Health Dr Manaouda Malachie after a flurry of suspensions of the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.
In a tweet on March 12, Dr Manaouda Malachie stated: “As the side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine continue to be debated, I would like to make it clear that I have submitted the matter to the Scientific Council and NITAG for advice. The expectation is that we will not use this vaccine while there are still doubts about its effects.”
Dr Shalom Ndoula, Permanent Secretary of Expanded Program on Immunization in the Ministry of Public Health had attested to the effectiveness of the vaccine. “The effectiveness of AstraZeneca has been shown by many studies. From clinical trials, AstraZeneca has shown the effectiveness of about 70%, and more than 89% in preventing severe forms of the virus and death.
At the moment, health personnel are the priority target for the start of the vaccination exercise with negotiations underway to obtain additional doses of the vaccine to achieve substantial vaccination coverage, Joshua Ndoula Shalom added.
Officials across the country have multiplied their efforts in carrying out sensitization about the need for people to be vaccinated when the time comes. This comes at a time when many in the country have been raising doubts about the motive behind the said vaccination campaign.
Despite these doubts which are “unfounded” according to health officials, the positive cases in the country have continued to rise. The country as of April 16 has a total of 61, 731 confirmed coronavirus cases in the country. This is 21, 109 additional cases taking from March 16 to April 16.