Gabon To Spend $38 Million On COVID-19 Vaccine For 20% Of Population

The government of Gabon is to spend 19.943 billion FCFA (about $38 million) on the purchase of one million doses of the coronavirus vaccine that would be used in vaccinating 455,000 persons, given that each person receives two doses of the vaccine. 

This represents about 20 per cent of the population who would be selected from among persons susceptible to develop complications that could lead to death if they were infected by the virus.

According to Gabon’s Minister of Health, Guy-Patrick Obiang, not all the population is eligible for vaccination.

“The idea is to avoid having persons in reanimation, and to avoid registering deaths. The only tool that we have today to eradicate the COVID-19 is vaccination,” the minister said on Thursday.

“The 80 per cent of asymptomatic persons are not eligible for vaccination,” the minister added.

He said, “The target today is estimated at 455,000 persons who correspond today at one million doses because each person has a right to two doses. The country intends to have a reserve of about 50,000 supplementary doses.”

Obiang revealed that each dose cost about $37.

“We are today in contact with our international partners who are responsible for the management of the vaccines and if we ever have the vaccines in our country, it would be necessary for the population to know that there is a cost for the vaccines, which is why we have to acquire them, ” the minister stressed.

For the one million doses, the Gabonese government would have to spend a little over 19.943 billion FCFA and for the 50,000 supplementary does it would have to spend a little over 997 million FCFA all amounting to  20.940 billion FCFA ($40 million).

The minister said the cost of the vaccines should not be a hindrance to their acquisition.

“The president of the republic would not look at the price but the capacity to cure. The cost is not a blocking factor. The president has given his word and we in government are going to do everything to ensure that the vaccines are available in 2021,” he said.

For the minister, the question is rather to know whether the laboratories that manufacture the vaccines have the capacity to satisfy international demand for them.

“Would there be sufficient vaccines to cover all countries which would demand for them?” the minister asked.

He added that Gabon would pursue its demand from the laboratories and international organisations in-charge of manufacturing the vaccines in order to be among the first African countries to benefit from this solution to fight against the COVID-19.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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