Soldiers hold their rifles to guard a health centre in Kesra, in the Siliana Governorate of Tunisia.
It’s just how far Tunisian authorities have been forced to go so locals can get jabbed against the coronavirus.
Tunisia is facing a third wave of infections in a county where the health system is already crowded, forcing some regions to lockdown again.
“They summoned me twice (to take the vaccine) in the city of Makthar and I refused to go, and when I heard of the arrival of the army, I decided to come for the vaccine because I voted for the Tunisian army, and for me it is more honest than others”, Kesra resident Rafika Achour said.
On Tuesday, France included Tunisia in its red list of countries with high Covid-19 risk, because of the deteriorating health situation caused by the virus.
On Monday, military health workers vaccinated persons over 60 years old or with comorbidities in Kesra and other regions of Siliana state.
The vaccination campaign involving the military was launched last weekend in two regions, Siliana and Tataouine, where at least 3,000 people received the jab.
The North African nation has reported Africa’s highest per-capita death toll from the pandemic. Currently, it is recording one of the highest per-capita infection rates on the continent, according to data from John’s Hopkins University.
Over the past month, confirmed virus infections in Tunisia have reached the highest daily levels since the pandemic began, but the vaccination rate remains low, the data shows.
By Tuesday, the country had registered 501,923 cases, 406,000 people have recovered and 16,494 deaths according to the Johns Hopkins University data.
To help with the vaccination drive, President Kaies Saied took the first dose of the vaccine on Monday, in a bid to create awareness about the need to get inoculated.
The Health Ministry announced the arrival of 85,410 doses of Pfizer this week, according to TAP, the country’s news agency.
On Tuesday, Tunisia received aid from several countries, including United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Algeria, that have sent hundreds of thousands of vaccines and medical supplies to help the country to fight the virus.
China and France have announced that a shipment with vaccines will be sent to the country in the coming days, according to the Tunisian news agency.