Seychelles has received a consignment of 50,000 doses of a China-manufactured COVID-19 vaccine donated by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the chief executive of the Health Care Agency said on Tuesday.
Officials are now studying and deciding who will receive the vaccine first and when the first vaccinations will take place.
Dr. Danny Louange told reporters that the vaccines are those the UAE offered during the recent working visit of Seychelles’ President Wavel Ramkalawan to the Middle East country last week.
“The batch of vaccines is those produced by Sinopharm, a Chinese company, and they are the same vaccines that UAE has used to vaccinate its people,” said Louange.
Sinopharm, the manufacturer of the vaccine, is an internationally renowned company and the COVID-19 vaccine it produces has a significant degree of efficacy.
Louange said that logistics have been prepared and the vaccines will be placed in a storage facility at the Seychelles Hospital.
For the deployment and administering of the vaccine, the chief executive said that there is a team working on a plan on how the vaccine will be given.
“This is the first batch we have received and we have been told that there will be donations of other vaccines. So our team, which includes different specialists looking at the various aspects of the vaccines, has been working on the plan for more than three weeks. We have not yet come to the details on when the vaccines will be administered,” he added.
Louange said the team is also working on which population group will be vaccinated first.
“We don’t have a specific date but we are looking at late January, but this has not been confirmed… We will inform the public when we get all those details,” he said.
In a press release from the Ministry of Health earlier on Tuesday, the Public Health Commissioner, Jude Gedeon, said that “as a policy, all medicines and vaccines that we administer in Seychelles must first receive pre-qualification from the World Health Organisation.”
He added that in the case of a pandemic like COVID-19, the green-light to roll out the vaccine can also come from reputable international organizations such as the Food and Drug Administration of the United States, the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) of the United States, the China Centre for Disease Control and the European Medicines Agency.
While a health team works on details on when to administer the vaccine, new measures are being put in place in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, to address the threat of the new variant COVID-19.
With effect from December 31, South Africa will no longer feature on the list of countries from which visitors may travel to Seychelles.
Between Wednesday December 23 and Thursday 31st December all visitors arriving from South Africa will not be permitted to stay in their private residences, but will have to book in a category 2 establishment for at least 10 days before being tested. If the result is negative, the visitors can complete the remaining four days at home or in a category 1 establishment.
Seychellois permanent residents and approved GOP holders entering the island nation from South Africa as of Wednesday December 23rd will be required to go into facility quarantine for at least 10 days before being tested, and if negative can complete the remaining four days at home or approved residence.
As from Monday December 28, the United Kingdom will no longer feature on the list of countries from which visitors may travel to Seychelles and Seychellois nationals, permanent residents and approved GOP holders may continue to travel from the United Kingdom to Seychelles under existing conditions.
These measures will be in effect until the end of January 2021 and will be subject to reviews before that date.