Today April 12, 2021, the Minister of Public Health (Minsanté), Manaouda Malachie kicked off the Covid-19 vaccination campaign in Yaoundé, which is the epicenter of the epidemic. According to information gathered by SBBC, the campaign will commence in the Littoral and the Southwest next Thursday and Friday respectively.
In a note published today by Clavère Nken, head of the communications department of the Minsanté, the national Covid-19 response manager will supervise the operations in the various regions while the regional representatives of the Ministry of Public Health will supervise the gradual operations of the 243 vaccination sites dedicated to the national vaccination campaign.
Yesterday April 11, 2021, Cameroon received a donation of 200,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine developed by Chinese firm Sinopharm.
"This is the first stock of vaccines that will be gradually supplemented by others. The next batch is scheduled to arrive on Saturday, April 17, 2021," Clavère Nken said.
The Cameroonian government’s strategy is to first vaccinate health care workers, as they are the first line of defense against the disease. According to our information, the aim of this strategy is to reduce the number of serious forms of disease and deaths, to immunize health care workers to reduce the pressure of the pandemic on the health service.
The next categories are people most exposed and/or to or risk of contracting severe forms of the virus. These are namely community health workers (CHWs), people with co-morbidities (hypertension, diabetes, respiratory pathologies, obesity), people over 50, security personnel, and teachers.
Sinopharm's vaccine is reportedly 79% effective against symptomatic forms of Covid-19 and effective against the South African variant currently circulating in Cameroon. In addition to this vaccine, the country also plans to vaccinate priority patients with the Anglo-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine, the American Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, and the Chinese Sinovac vaccine.
All of these vaccines are recommended by the Scientific Council on Public Health Emergencies (SCPHE) and the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG). The first two vaccines have been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) under the emergency response procedure (EUL). The other two, like Sinopharm, are still awaiting WHO approval, although they are already in use in other countries.
In March 2021, the WHO Expert Advisory Panel (EAP) stated Chinese vaccines Sinopharm and Sinovac have "demonstrated safety and good efficacy against Covid-19 when the patient is symptomatic." However, the Group believes that more data is needed, especially for "the elderly and people suffering from other diseases."
In Cameroon, 919 people have died of Covid-19 out of a total of 61,731 confirmed cases since the first confirmed case was announced on March 6, 2020. "The government encourages the population and especially priority targets (...) to get vaccinated when the time comes," wrote Manaouda Malachie in a statement on April 9.
Patricia Ngo Ngouem