Cabo Verde: Vaccination to cover 95% of population at risk at start-up

The Cape Verdean government on Thursday said that it has $15 million guaranteed to implement the vaccination plan against Covid-19, which will cover 95% of the population at risk in the first phase, although it gave no deadlines.

In a statement, the government said it had guaranteed resources to implement that plan, through the support of $5 million (€4.1 million) from the World Bank and a further $10 million (€8.2 million) raised through a programme of the subregion of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

“Cabo Verde will adopt the standard model that has been applied in other countries. We will ensure that at least 95% of the population at risk is vaccinated in the first phase,” the communiqué said.

This prioritisation on vaccination in Cabo Verde starts with health professionals and people most at risk of having the severe form of Covid-19, and who therefore may overrun the response capacity of the health service as is happening in some countries.

According to the government, the priority list also includes the police, civil protection and armed forces, who are in the front line.

The people who work in tourism must also be vaccinated to make tourists feel safer as the sector guarantees 25% of Cabo Verde’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The government of Cabo Verde is following the best international practices so that the vaccination process of Cape Verdeans takes place in the best possible way. Health professionals will be the first to be vaccinated in Cabo Verde, as it has been all over the world,” the note also stated.

The document added that mobilisation for access to the vaccine is being made using a three-pronged approach. Trade, diplomatic policy, and collaboration with international partners such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Bank.

Deputy prime minister and finance minister Olavo Correia announced this week that Cabo Verde intends to vaccinate around 10,000 people linked to the tourism sector, in a first phase that is expected to begin this quarter, according to the government’s initial expectations and which remains to be confirmed, given the lack of access to vaccines on the international market.

“We have an ongoing vaccination plan. The first phase will benefit and prioritise around 10,000 people who are in the tourism sector, precisely to protect tourists from infection,” Olavo Correia said during a meeting with business people on the island of Sal.

According to the Cape Verdean government’s number two, as long as the vaccine does not reach the country, what is important is to fight against the pandemic with all possible measures.

Earlier, Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva said that the conditions were being created to introduce the vaccine against Covid-19 in the archipelago, for priority groups, during the first quarter and that financing for its acquisition was guaranteed.

The president, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, called for a determined and intelligent fight against the effects of Covid-19 to be continued, hoping that the vaccine against the new coronavirus would soon be available in the archipelago.

At the beginning of the year, the minister of health, Arlindo do Rosario, admitted he could not commit to dates for the start of vaccination against Covid-19 in the archipelago. However, he said that the problem was not a lack of funding.

“It is a process. I cannot honestly say that we will have the vaccine by the first quarter. I like to talk when we are sure. We do not have that certainty,” he said.

According to Arlindo do Rosario, Cabo Verde plans to have access to a vaccine against Covid-19 through the Covax platform – promoted by the WHO and the Alliance for Vaccines – which should guarantee doses for the most at-risk groups, approximately 20% of the archipelago’s population.

According to the French agency AFP, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused at least 2,075,698 deaths from over 96.8 million cases of infection worldwide.