President Julius Maada Bio became the first person to be vaccinated in Sierra Leone as the country rolled out its Covid-19 vaccination programme on Monday.

President Bio was inoculated at a special ceremony at State House in Freetown, alongside the country’s Vice President, Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, and other top government officials, including Cabinet ministers and lawmakers.

At the start of the ceremony, President Bio said he was the first in the country to get the jab so as to encourage citizens to get vaccinated.

“I cannot ask people to take the vaccine without taking it first,” he said.

The National Coronavirus Response Center (NaCOVERC) said the country received vaccine donations from China and the WHO coordinated Covax programme.

Sierra Leone currently has 296,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccines, comprising 200,000 doses of the Chinese made Sinopharm vaccine and 96,000 doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine from the Covax facility.

The NaCOVERC said they targeted to cover 150 people on Monday alone, mainly “high-profile politicians.”

Officials did not disclose which version of the two available vaccines President Bio took.

A spokesman for the NaCOVERC told The EastAfrican that that information is personal and up to the person receiving the vaccine to decide on whether to disclose the details.