A total of 391,200 doses of the British vaccine, AstraZeneCa are currently in Cameroon. The vaccines touched down on the Yaounde Nsimalen International Airport on Saturday April 17, 2021.
The AstraZeneCa vaccines arrived the country barely 7 days after the Chinese vaccine, Sinophram which was offered to Cameroon by the Peoples Republic of China.
The arrival of the AstraZeneCa vaccines will intensify the immunization exercise which was launched by the Public Health Minister on April 14 in Yaounde .
Shortly after the vaccines were received, WHO Resident Representative, Phanuel Habimana said “ We have to protect people through this vaccination. We need to get the vaccine in the arms of the people as quickly as possible and to as many people wanting the vaccine as possible”.
Cameroon’s Public authorities say the current immunization exercise is critical in flattening the curve of the global health pandemic that has so far infected close to 65,000 persons, and killed nearly 1000 others.
Cameroon makes a U-turn
Barely a month ago, a host of European countries including , France Germany Denmark, South Africa stopped use of the AstraZeneCa vaccine owing to the lack of data on its effectiveness in older people. South Africa was the first African country to follow suit.
Cameroon’s Public Health Minister, Dr. Manaouda Malachie in a tweet said “We will not use vaccine if there are still doubts on effects”.
The World World Health Organization (WHO), European Medicines Agency (EMA), and the African Union said the benefits of the AstraZeneCa vaccine superseded possible risks, so vaccines could continued to be used.
But on Wednesday March 17, Cameroon’s Scientific Council for Public Health Emergencies issued a press release “recommending more time for observation before the eventual use of the vaccine in Cameroon”.
Some days before the arrival of the British vaccine, the Health Minister, Dr. Manaouda Malachie said the vaccine is known to have over 70% effectiveness and will be used to immunize persons vulnerable to the virus.
Following the arrival of the vaccine, Public Health authorities are hopeful that the response to the immunization exercise, especially from target groups will be favorable.
More vaccines are expected in the days ahead. 4,000,000 doses of Johnson’s and Johnson are also expected in the country anytime soon.
Kathy Neba Sina