Health Minister Fired, Walk-in Vaxxes Halted After Overwhelming Turnout

The crowd outside the Marsa walk-in vaccination center at around 14:00 on July 20, 2021. Photo courtesy of Wael Chettaoui.

As Tunisians celebrated Eid on Tuesday, crowds of people took to the newly opened, walk-in vaccination centers across the country. The centers—offering vaccinations to anyone over 18-years-old for the first time—had been announced only one day earlier for a limited two-day period. But with the limited time frame, limited vaccine supplies, unclear directives from officials, and short notice given to volunteer organizers, many centers were overwhelmed. Some experienced disruptions, overcrowding, clashes, or the total freezing of operations. Towards the late afternoon and early evening, some centers had recovered from earlier chaos to streamline the process, according to numerous testimonies gathered by Meshkal/Nawaat. Despite a few successfully organized centers, at 18:00 the Prime Minister’s office announced the dismissal of the Minister of Health, and at midnight the Health Ministry cancelled the second day of walk-ins.

This article was produced as part of a reporting partnership between Meshkal and Nawaat. To read the full report, click here.