Tunisia puts military on vaccination duty as cases soar
KESRA, Tunisia (AP) — Soldiers hold rifles to guard the health center in the traditional Tunisian village of Kesra, while inside, military medics use other weapons to combat COVID-19: vaccines.
Tunisia is facing its worst coronavirus surge since the pandemic began, further stressing the North African country's already crowded hospitals and health system. That has forced some regions to go back into lockdown and prompted waves of donations of vaccines or medical aid from China, France, Turkey, Italy, the United Arab Emirates and Algeria.
Tunisia’s government decided to deploy the armed forces to vaccinate people in the regions with the worst infection rates and in areas with particularly low vaccination rates.
At the Kesra medical center this week, military doctor Riadh Allani said the turnout for shots “is satisfactory, but it is weak compared to the big cities where the news spreads quickly and people come.”
“Here, many citizens face difficulties to reach the vaccination center, so we are ready to extend our stay to give an opportunity for everyone to come,” Allani told The Associated Press. He said the medics would with local authorities to vaccinate people at home, if necessary,
Over the past month, confirmed cases in Tunisia have reached their highest daily numbers of the pandemic, but the nationwide vaccination rate remains low, according to data from John’s Hopkins University. Tunisia has reported Africa’s highest per-capita pandemic death toll and is currently recording one of the world's highest daily per-capita infection rates, the data indicate.
Military health workers vaccinated thousands of people in Kesra and other sites in the Siliana region in central inland Tunisia, mainly individuals over age 60 with underlying health conditions. The campaign in...