Tunisia's virus vaccines delayed until March: official

Tunisia's virus vaccines delayed until March: official
1 min read
17 February, 2021
A delay in the arrival of vaccines has postponed the start of Tunisia’s vaccination campaign.
Tunisia has witnessed 7,617 deaths from the coronavirus. [Getty]

Tunisia will receive its coronavirus jabs in March, postponing the expected start of its vaccination campaign, a health official said Wednesday.

The government had previously announced it was expecting an initial 94,000 doses of Pfizer and AstraZeneca-Oxford jabs to begin arriving from mid-February.

But local media said national vaccine commission member Ahlem Gzara had told parliament on Wednesday that the first doses will arrive next month.

Health Minister Faouzi Mehdi meanwhile told private radio that Tunisia will not receive the vaccines until parliament adopts a law under which all liability for potential complications suffered by vaccine recipients would be shouldered by the state.  

"These are the conditions required by the laboratories for delivery of the vaccines," he said.

A bill containing that commitment was approved in a cabinet meeting on Monday and sent to parliament for examination from Friday, the minister added.

Read more: How poverty and corruption are pushing Tunisia's disenfranchised youth back to the streets

Tunisia is lagging behind regional peers Morocco and Algeria, which both started their vaccination campaigns in late January, respectively using the AstraZeneca-Oxford and Russia's Sputnik V vaccines. 

Since the start of the pandemic, Tunisia has recorded 224,329 cases of coronavirus, including 7,617 deaths, according to the health ministry. 

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected