The west African nation of Senegal has been experiencing its most serious surge in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.
Cemetery officials say they have seen an increase in burials, hospitals are straining under the load.
The rise comes as the country received nearly 300,000 Johnson & Johnson doses and more than 330,000 doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine in the past week and is stepping up its vaccination campaign.
“It is important to note that this strategy, which is a proximity strategy that allows us to bring the vaccine close to the population, will allow us to considerably accelerate our vaccination strategy. Because we know today that the pandemic is gaining ground and we must move faster than the delta variant,” Abdoulaye Dious Sarr, Senegalese Minister of Health and Welfare
The new doses are more easily accessed at local vaccination points.
Misinformation and conspiracy theories about the virus and vaccine are being countered through public awareness campaigns.
Officials are hopeful as new vaccine supplies arrive and are actively working to encourage people to get the shots close to home.
Abdoulaye Dious Sarr, Senegal’s health minister says that “a proximity strategy that allows us to bring the vaccine close to the population” is key to accelerating the delivery of doses.
“We must move faster than the delta variant,” Sarr said.
African countries have experienced delays and shortages of vaccine supplies, causing them to slip behind the rest of the world in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout as wealthier nations stockpiled doses, according to the World Health Organization.
Less than 2% of Africa’s 1.3 billion people are fully vaccinated, making it vulnerable to more waves of the disease.