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50,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India arrives in Seychelles

People in Seychelles age 60 and older will soon be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after the island nation received 50,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India on Friday.

The doses of the vaccine, known in India as Covishield, arrived in Seychelles onboard a special flight operated by an Indian Navy Aircraft, which flew into the 115-island archipelago straight from India.

Seychelles started rolling out its vaccination programme on January 10 with the Sinopharm vaccine, administering the first doses to leaders and essential workers with roll-out to general public planned for next week.

“What we had in the country was enough to vaccinate 25,000 people. What we have received will cover a further 25,000. The campaign for this batch of vaccine will be for people whom we have up until now not vaccinated, that is people above the age of 60. It will be a huge aid for us, as part of our campaign until we get other vaccines,” said the health minister, Peggy Vidot.

At the moment, no manufacturer of COVID-19 vaccines has been able to develop a shot for children under 16, though efforts are ongoing.

The 50,000 doses of vaccines were handed over to the health minister and the foreign minister, Sylvestre Radegonde, by the High Commissioner of India to Seychelles, Dalbir Singh Suhag, in a short ceremony at Seychelles’ International Airport at Pointe Larue.

Having been gifted this consignment of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Seychelles will need a further 40,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to achieve its goal of immunising 70 percent of its population. Vidot told the press that discussions are being held with India so that Seychelles can buy the remaining doses of vaccine.

She explained that at the moment, a price has not yet been set for the island nation, however, “the price that has been established on the global market is around $5 a dose, which differs in each country.”

Radegonde said that “this donation of vaccine is a crucial support for our national COVID-19 immunization campaign launched nearly two weeks ago.”

“This kind gesture today, further cements the ties of solidarity, friendship, and cooperation which exists between our two countries. We are grateful for all the forms of assistance rendered to us during this challenging period. This high mark of goodwill underlines once again the close bond of friendship between Seychelles and India,” said Radegonde.

On January 19 and January 20, prior to the delivery of the vaccines, a live webinar training programme was organised by the Indian health ministry for health care professionals in Seychelles. The aim of the webinar was to cover the administrative and operational aspect of Oxford-AstraZeneca.

After leaving Seychelles, the plane will deliver a batch of vaccines to the neighbouring island nation of Mauritius.

Apart from the Oxford Astra-Zeneca and Sinnopharm vaccines, the Seychelles has also been gifted 20,000 doses of a yet to be named vaccine by the United Arabs Emirates, the donor of the Chinese vaccines.

(Seychelles news Agency)

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