But nurses like Ms. Sy have had to turn many others away.

When Covid vaccines were first available, she said, many older people had shown up, but young people had been more hesitant, both to get vaccinated or, if they were sick, to get tested.

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

Even Mr. Ndiaye, the science 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 get inoculated. He had heard wild rumors and conspiracy theories, and he was not sure what to believe.

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

Now, having seen for himself that the rumors were nothing more than that, rumors, 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 never met someone who got 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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