Tunisia gives 550,000 coronavirus vaccine doses in a day
People queue up to receive AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination spot installed at Oued Ellil high school. The national Covid-19 vaccination campaign for people aged 40 and above started this Sunday in various parts in Tunisia. Jdidi Wassim/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa
People queue up to receive AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination spot installed at Oued Ellil high school. The national Covid-19 vaccination campaign for people aged 40 and above started this Sunday in various parts in Tunisia. Jdidi Wassim/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

Tunisia gave some 550,000 people a jab against coronavirus on Sunday, the health ministry confirmed.

The government was aiming to give a first vaccine dose to up to 1 million people as part of a mass inoculation campaign targeting everyone over 40.

The AstraZeneca vaccine was used, according to an adviser to President Kais Saied.

Thousands of people had queued up outside vaccination centres in the North African country's capital in the early hours of Sunday.

As part of the effort, hundreds of institutions, such as schools, have been turned into vaccination centres.

The government is trying to boost the country's vaccination campaign, which has have so far been rather slow.

Only 8 per cent of the 11.5 million residents have been fully immunized against the coronavirus, while the Alpha and Delta variants continue to rage.

Months of political struggle had left the country without an effective pandemic strategy. There had been repeated protests against the government in recent months due to the desolate situation.

Tunisia records 2,000 to 3,000 new virus cases daily. Since the start of the pandemic, 21,000 people have died with or from the virus.

A successful vaccination campaign is key for Saied, who recently dismissed prime minister Hichem Mechichi and suspended the work of parliament for an initial 30 days in a move which critics call a coup.

A vaccination campaign two-and-a-half weeks ago that called on all adults to show up led to crowds and required police intervention several times.

At the time, the number of vaccine doses was extremely low. Meanwhile, almost 6 million doses have been donated from abroad.

An army officer administers a dose of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to a man at a vaccination spot installed at Oued Ellil high school. The national Covid-19 vaccination campaign for people aged 40 and above started this Sunday in various parts in Tunisia. Jdidi Wassim/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa
An army officer administers a dose of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to an elderly woman at a vaccination spot installed at Oued Ellil high school. The national Covid-19 vaccination campaign for people aged 40 and above started this Sunday in various parts in Tunisia. Jdidi Wassim/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa