In Senegal, demand for covid vaccines is growing, but they are hard to get

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But nurses like Mrs. Sy have had to turn down many others.

When Covid vaccines first became available, she said, many older people had shown up, but young people were more reluctant both to get vaccinated and, when sick, to get tested.

“Some people, until they experience it or witness it, will not trust that the disease exists,” said Ms. Sy, who is 60. “They don’t want to know if they have Covid-19 or not.”

Even Mr. Ndiaye, the physics teacher, had his doubts at first.

Like his colleagues at Abass Sall Secondary School in Liberté VI, a Dakar neighborhood, Mr Ndiaye, 67, had not really wanted to be vaccinated. He had heard wild rumors and conspiracy theories and didn’t know what to believe.

But on that April morning, when a vaccination team came to his school, the principal called the teachers together and asked for volunteers to set an example. Mr. Ndiaye said he was the first to raise his hand.

Now that he has seen for himself that the rumors were nothing more than that, rumours, he is something of a vaccine evangelist, encouraging his fellow teachers, students and neighbors to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families.

“I personally have never met anyone who has contracted Covid-19, but I know it exists and it is a deadly disease,” he said. “I tell people that all vaccines have side effects, and none of them are 100 percent perfect.”

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