Tunis (AFP)

Tunisia, which has been facing a serious health crisis for several months, is leading an intense vaccination campaign against Covid-19 on Sunday during an "open house" day, after having obtained more than six million doses from countries Arabs and Westerners.

More than 300 centers in total were to welcome citizens over 40 for this day decided by President Kais Saied, and the crowd was high in the middle of the day, according to AFP correspondents.

At 1:00 p.m. local (11:00 a.m. GMT), they were thus 302,751 to have received a dose of vaccine, according to the monitoring cell of the Ministry of Health.

President Saied granted himself full powers on July 25 after a frenzy exacerbated by a deadly epidemic peak, which angered Tunisians against the "incompetence" of the former government and of an Assembly monopolized by its internal struggles.

Since then, he has created a crisis unit to manage the health crisis, supervised by a senior military officer.

"During 15 days, more than six million doses were provided and in the coming days, more than two million doses are expected then another four million additional", declared Thursday Mr. Saied, according to a video published by the presidency.

The head of state urged Tunisians to participate massively in the vaccination campaign.

“Don't hesitate a moment,” he said.

Late in its vaccination campaign, Tunisia has been hit hard by the Delta variant: since March, the number of deaths from the new coronavirus has more than doubled, and the toll now exceeds 20,000 deaths.

Officially, this country of 11 million inhabitants now has one of the worst death rates in the world linked to the pandemic.

With millions of vaccine donations pouring in in recent weeks, Tunisia hopes to vaccinate around 50% of its population by mid-October, authorities said.

A first "open house" day organized at the last minute at the end of July ended in a disorderly rush on vaccines.

It had cost the then Minister of Health his post, highlighting the government's lack of strategy in the face of Covid.

About two million people have received a first dose of the vaccine since the campaign began in March.

© 2021 AFP

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