Guinea’s President Alpha Conde has received the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, becoming the first African leader opting for it, the AFP news agency said on Saturday.
"Several other government members who have not so far contacted the virus have also been inoculated over the past two weeks," AFP said citing Sory Keira, the spokesman for the National Health Security Agency (Agence Nationale de Securite Sanitaire - ANSS).
On Friday, Guinea’s television broadcast how President Alpha Conde was getting a jab at the Sekhoutoureah Palace in the capital, the Guinea News portal reported. The president was reported to be giving an example to the country’s citizens in the fight against coronavirus.
A group of Guinea’s high-ranking officials alongside Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and National Defense Mohamed Diane were the first to receive the Sputnik V vaccine on December 30.
Guinea has become the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa that started using the Sputnik V vaccine. Guinea’s Health Ministry told TASS that the ANSS initiated the program. After studying the vaccines available in the word market, the choice was made in favor of some of them, including the Russian vaccine, the health ministry noted. The ANSS is a key body in Guinea’s healthcare system and enjoys a high authority across Africa.
Sory Keira pointed out that the vaccination started on an experimental basis.
"More than 2.5 million vaccine doses are expected before the end of the first quarter, which would enable us to inoculate a good number of people, certainly those who want it," Keira said "without specifying whether the doses consisted solely of the Russian-developed jab," AFP reported.
Guinea has reported 14,051 coronavirus cases and 81 deaths so far.