The Gabonese government is currently negotiating the acquisition of the COVID-19 vaccines with their manufacturers, AstraZeneca and Moderna.
According to Jessye Ella Ekogha, the spokesperson at the Gabonese presidency, the negotiations are centred on two principal aspects.
He stated that the first one concerns international organisations notably the Covax initiative which permits countries to benefit from free vaccines.
“Gabon is participating in this initiative and it is an active member,” Ekogha revealed, adding that the second aspect concerns discussions between Gabon and certain suppliers.
“What I can already tell you now is that the first wish of Gabon is not to acquire a vaccine unless it is validated by the relevant international instances notably the World Health Organisation,” he explained.
Ekogha revealed that Gabon is not acquiring the Pfizer vaccine because it is difficult to conserve.
“For the moment we are having discussions with AstraZeneca and Moderna. The acquisition of the Sputnik vaccine is for now not under consideration since it has not yet been validated by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Talking about the penalties for those who break the law on masking and distancing announced by the government on Saturday, Jan. 23, the presidential spokesperson said the fines would range from 25,000 FCFA (about US$50) for first-time offenders to 200,000 FCFA (about US$400) for repetitive offenders.
“What I can tell you now is that the amount of 25,000 FCFA is a classic fine that you would pay for the first time you are found not wearing a mask or not wearing it properly,” Ekogha said.
“This amount would increase when you are found to be a repeat offender. If you are caught the first time, and then a second time or several times afterwards, the fines would be increased gradually.”
“Offenders would be asked for their national identity cards which the police would hold and only return to the offenders after they have paid their fines in the public treasury and issued a receipt which they would have to present to the police before being given back their national identity cards,” the presidential spokesperson concluded.