The long-awaited return of Russian airline Aeroflot to the Seychelles brought with it not only new visitors, but also the first shipment of Russian Sputnik Covid-19 vaccines.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism Sylvestre Radegonde, who was a key negotiator in getting the vaccine, issued a statement at the airport shortly after the plane arrived that talks began when he took office.
“There is a huge demand for vaccines as every country is queueing up to receive their consignment. We were also in the queue and each time I got a chance I reminded the Russian ambassador of the urgency for us to get the vaccines,” Minister Radegonde pointed out.
The first batch of vaccines consists of 1000 doses, with more doses expected in the coming weeks.
The minister went on to say that when the government decided to launch the vaccination campaign in January, it knocked on a lot of doors.
“It’s not easy acquiring the vaccines as it is in huge demand, we had to go into serious negotiations, often getting on our hands and knees,” he said.
He also stated that more vaccines would be delivered in the coming weeks. Furthermore, since we will have more vaccines than we need, the government will consider vaccinating foreign mariners who fish in our waters.
The Minister of Transport, Antony Derjacques, who was also present to greet the Aeroflot flight, added that these vaccines were produced less than a year ago, and several studies indicate that some vaccines are more successful than others, so it is important that the government maintains a vaccine stock.
“We have also seen countries that have been successful in vaccinating people under 18 years old so when international organisations give the go ahead, we can also start the vaccination campaign for that age group, so it is very important that we have a good stock,” noted Minister Derjacques.