Seychelles rolls out COVID-19 vaccination using China's Sinopharm, says president's office

A Sinopharm sign is seen at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, China, September 5, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File Photo

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Seychelles has started vaccinating its population against COVID-19 with doses from China’s Sinopharm vaccine, President Wavel Ramkalawan said.

Ramkalawan’s office said in a statement seen by Reuters on Monday that the initial target was for the vaccine to reach 25,000 people and first priority was for healthcare workers.

The statement said the Indian Ocean archipelago had received 50,000 doses of the vaccine as a donation from the United Arab Emirates.

Ramkalawan’s office said he and former president Danny Faure and other senior government officials were vaccinated as part of efforts to bolster confidence among the population to take part in the exercise.

It said India’s government had offered another 100,000 doses of the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine that were due to arrive at the end of January.

With a population of just over 98,000 people, Seychelles has reported a total of 531 coronavirus cases and one death, data from its health ministry showed.

Reporting by George Obulutsa