The United States Government, through the COVAX Facility, has boosted the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive in Sierra Leone, with a donation of 113,490 doses of the Pfizer vaccines.
This vaccine shipment comes within a week of Sierra Leone receiving consignments of 151,200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which were also supplied by the United States Government through the global COVID-19 equity scheme’s dose-sharing mechanism, COVAX.
Since March this year, the COVAX Facility has been instrumental in ensuring that COVID-19 vaccines are available in Sierra Leone to protect people at risk of the disease from falling seriously ill or dying from it.
To date, more than 288,384 adults have received their first shots of a COVID-19 vaccine, while more than 69,880 have already received a second dose.
“The arrival of these additional vaccines is a demonstration of the longstanding relationship between our two countries and our determination towards ending the COVID-19 pandemic. These vaccines will significantly increase our national vaccine uptake,” remarked the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr Austin Demby.
In addition to supporting countries with the purchase of vaccines, the COVAX Facility co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has been instrumental in supporting low- and middle-income countries with the development of national vaccination plans, enhancement of cold chain infrastructure, and provision of logistical materials and medical supplies to facilitate smooth implementation of vaccination activities.
The Pfizer vaccine is one of seven vaccines which are approved for use by the WHO in protecting people against COVID-19. Two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have been found by health experts to be effective in providing adults with the required protection from COVID-19 illness or death.
With less than two percent of eligible adults that currently fully vaccinated in Sierra Leone, these additional vaccines will help to meet urgent needs.
“We are encouraged by the accelerated efforts of the government and its different partners to vaccinate as many people as possible in order to attain the country’s vaccination target as set out in the revised National COVID-19 Response Plan,” said Dr Steven V. Shongwe, WHO Representative in Sierra Leone.