The government of The Gambia has 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.
Meanwhile, the first consignment arrival of the US donation of vaccines to The Gambia comes when COVID-19 cases are escalating rapidly in the country. About 925 positive cases have been confirmed between 23rd June and 16th July. Since the confirmation of the first COVID-19 case in March 2020, The Gambia has registered 6,920 cases and 190 deaths.
“President Joe Biden committed that the United States will be an “arsenal for vaccines,” and we are pleased to partner with the African Union, COVAX, WHO, and UNICEF to support the Gambian government’s vaccination efforts led by the Ministry of Health. This initial delivery from the U.S. contribution of over 304,000 doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine – on top of $2 billion provided by the United States to COVAX in April to buy vaccines for the world – is only the beginning. We will continue to donate surplus vaccine supply, as it is available to us. In addition, we will soon begin delivering on our contribution of 500 million Pfizer doses for distribution by COVAX to countries worldwide, including The Gambia. Only by working together – and by getting vaccinated! – can we combat and end the COVID pandemic,” said H.E Richard Carlton Paschall III, U.S. Ambassador to The Gambia.
In receiving the contribution, Minister of Health Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh noted that “The Gambia is currently witnessing its third wave of the epidemic. Therefore, this donation could not have come at a better time.”
The Gambia’s Minister of Health says the U.S donated vaccines will significantly close the gap towards achieving the national target of vaccinating 60 percent of the population by June 2022.
To urgently scale up the COVID-19 vaccination program, the Ministry of Health will immediately introduce the J&J/Janssen vaccine into the nationwide campaign, which is currently underway and implemented in communities and health facilities across the country, as well as in different strategic locations such as bantabas, points of entry and other identified areas.
Gordon Jonathan Lewis, UNICEF Representative, underscored that “this generous contribution of shared vaccines from the Government of the United States will go a long way towards achieving vaccine equity in The Gambia and will ensure that we can vaccinate a larger number of individuals in a shorter period of time, especially now that new cases are rapidly rising. Getting vaccinated is the right thing to do. Getting vaccinated is the ethical thing to do.”
Dr. Desta Tiruneh, WHO Representative, added that “WHO welcomes the substantial contribution of vaccines from the Government of the United States through COVAX at a time when The Gambia is witnessing a significant spike in the number of COVID19 cases. Global vaccine sharing is the only way we can vaccinate at least 10% of the population of every country by the end of September 2021.”