President of Seychelles Wavel Ramkalawan receives the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine at the Seychelles Hospital on Sunday. Picture: Supplied by Seychelles Tourism Board
President of Seychelles Wavel Ramkalawan receives the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine at the Seychelles Hospital on Sunday. Picture: Supplied by Seychelles Tourism Board

Seychelles becomes first African country to roll out Covid-19 vaccine

By Jehran Naidoo Time of article published Jan 12, 2021

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Durban - Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands off the east coast of Africa, on Sunday became the first African country to administer the Covid-19 vaccine.

Seychelles aims to be the first country in the world to vaccinate 70% of the over-18-years age population in order to achieve herd immunity.

President Wavel Ramkalawan became the first African head of state to receive China’s Sinopharm jab at the Seychelles Hospital.

“With such a robust vaccination campaign, Seychelles aims to be the first country in the world to vaccinate at least 70% of its over-18 population. From there we will be able to declare Seychelles as being Covid safe,” Ramkalawan said in a statement on Monday.

Ramkalawan thanked the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who donated 50,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine.

This after Ramkalawan visited Abu Dhabi, UAE, in December. Ramkalawan said that the UAE government will be donating another batch of vaccines “soon”.

Furthermore, Ramkalawan thanked the government of India after they donated 100,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, which is set to arrive by the end of January.

Like most economies around the globe that have undergone major financial challenges as a result of the pandemic, Seychelles, whose majority of revenue is obtained from the tourism industry, suffered heavily as international flights and holidays were cancelled.

The tourism industry accounts for around 25% of Seychelles’ national GDP.

Minister of Tourism and Foreign Affairs Sylvestre Radegonde said the beginning of the vaccination campaign was an important step for the country.

“The Covid-19 immunisation campaign is an important milestone for the restart of our tourism industry as the country balances its efforts to maintain its tourism activities and protect its population from further spread of the virus.

“The world has not come to a standstill and there are people who are still keen to travel. We need to fast rebuild our industry, for our economic prosperity depends on it,” said Radegonde.

African News Agency (ANA)

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