On Thursday 24 December, Policy analyst, Dr. Sanjeer Pugazhendi and Vaccination Programme Manager, Florida Bijoux, briefly revealed the new COVID-19 vaccine’s priority list. Dr. Sanjeer stated that given the country is in a state of ‘Public Health Emergency’, they are weighing their options before administering the vaccine.
According to Dr. Bijoux, the vaccine will be given in priority to employees working in the health sector and essential services. This will be followed by members of the public with chronic illnesses, the elderly and key leaders.
They decided that the vaccine will not be administered to young adults aged 18 and below. In total, there are about 68,000 people who will initially be given the option of taking the vaccine. Aside from the National Technical Working Group set in place by the Ministry of Health to manage the vaccination programme, a sensitization vaccination campaign will also be launched to address the concerns of the population and educate the public on the vaccine itself.
Responding to the media’s question as to how soon the Sinopharm vaccine, which was recently donated by the UAE, be rolled out to the public, Policy Analyst Sanjeer Pugazhendi said that although the World Health Organization has not approved of the vaccine yet, there are other countries that have already started administering it for emergency use.
The public health authorities and the Ministry of Health are considering all of its options, he said, and are currently weighing whether they should begin to administer the vaccine given that the country is in a state of ‘public health emergency’.
“We are already in a Public Health Emergency, and we are considering all our options. The sooner we can protect the population, the better it will be for our economy,” explained Sanjeer Pugazhendi. As at last Thursday, 24 December, there were 16 active COVID-19 cases in Seychelles, five of whom are quarantining at the Family Hospital at Perseverance. The remaining 11 are being isolated at their residential establishments.