Tunisia to be among 1st countries to receive doses of coronavirus vaccine (Faouzi Mehdi)
21/10/2020 12:33, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - "Tunisia has coordinated with the World Health Organisation and donors and mobilised the necessary funds to receive the coronavirus vaccine as soon as it is released on the market," Health Minister Faouzi Mehdi said on Wednesday.

"Tunisia will be among the first countries to receive the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine," he insisted at a press conference held in Tunis.

The health minister stated that the epidemiological situation is critical at the moment and that all measures taken to stem the pandemic must be rigorously enforced.

" On October 20, 29 additional fatalities were recorded, bringing the death toll due to coronavirus to 740 since last March," he indicated, pointing out that so far 1,034 COVID-19 patients have been hospitalised.

Faouzi Mehdi said that out of a total of 181 intensive care beds available, 145 are now occupied.

"The ministry is endeavouring to provide over 222 intensive care beds and at the same time to increase the number of specialised medics and paramedics to manage these facilities," he added, signalling that the intensive care beds are managed at the national level in coordination with the Shoc Room.

Besides, the minister indicated that 11 additional delegations are today classified as hot spots along with the 29 delegations and 6 governorates already on the list.

"In fact, the pandemic is spreading very rapidly and it will only be stemmed by enforcing prevention measures and barrier gestures, mainly the wearing of masks," he stated.

Mehdi also pointed out that a guide for patient care in front-line facilities had recently been drawn up in consultation with all the stakeholders to reduce the pressure on hospitals and emergency wards.

In this regard, the minister specified that healthcare staff have been trained in the use of rapid screening tests, which will only be used in emergency wards and hospitals.

"Under no circumstances will these tests be sold in pharmacies," he insisted.

Regarding seasonal flu vaccines, the minister said they will now only be sold on medical prescription, pointing out that Tunisia has acquired a total of 400,000 doses of this vaccine.

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