Senegal starts vaccinating against coronavirus

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Seydina Alioune Djigo BBC News, Dakar

The authorities in Senegal have said fighting misinformation and Covid-19 vaccination reluctance will be key in the campaign launched on Tuesday.

Senegal’s Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr was first in line to be vaccinated and said he wanted to serve as as an example and reassure the public on the safety of the vaccines.

The country purchased its first 200,000 doses from the Chinese Sinopharm.

Frontline health workers and vulnerable groups will be prioritised in the vaccination across different parts of the country.

Health experts say the challenge of identifying people with underlying health conditions must be tackled quickly especially since medical records are not necessarily digitised.

To overcome this difficulty, the government has launched an online registration form with priority criteria to be assessed for any person registered before vaccination.

Authorities say the country is expected to begin a mass vaccination campaign in the coming weeks with a second batch of more than six million doses.

The West African nation is experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases despite restrictive measures and a curfew in Dakar and Thiès regions.

Last week saw the total number of Senegal’s coronavirus-related deaths reach 800.