Liberia: Bong County Begins Covid-19 Vaccination, Residents Warned Against Misinformation About The Virus

Phebe Hospital Medical Director, Dr. Jefferson Sibley, Bong County Health Officer, Dr. Jonathan Flomo and Superintendent Esther Walker were among the first batch of people who took the vaccine

Phebe, BONG COUNTY – On Wednesday, Bong County joined other counties in Liberia to flag-off Covid-19 vaccination; prioritizing local leaders and health workers in the first phase of the exercise with over 20,000 doses received from the Ministry of Health.

Speaking at the venue of the flag-off ceremony, Bong County Health Officer, Dr. Jonathan Flomo who took  the AstraZeneca vaccine, urged Liberians to disregard rumors and misinformation making the rounds about the vaccine. He said: “The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health has done due diligence to bring into the country the vaccine to ensure that citizens are protected against the Covid-19 virus,” he said.

Dr. Flomo, however, said the vaccination is not the end of the pandemic and all residents of the county must continue to adhere to non-pharmaceutical inventions such as hand hygiene, use of face mask and maintaining physical distancing if the pandemic is to be controlled.

It can be recalled on March 5, Liberia received 96,000 doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines through the COVAX initiative, a partnership involving the Coalition for Economic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), UNICEF and WHO.

In addition, Liberia also received 97,000 syringes and 600 safety boxes for the administration and disposal of immunization waste, according to a statement released by the WHO office in Monrovia.

Officials said the arrival of the 96,000 doses of vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, are the first of the 384,000 doses expected to be delivered to the country.

In late March, LoneStar Cell MTN also donated 27,000 doses of the vaccines to the government as part of its contribution to the fight against the pandemic in Africa.

Earlier in a press briefing to herald the vaccination exercise, Bong County superintendent Esther Walker, who later received the first jab of COVID-19 vaccine, also used the opportunity of the press briefing to address concerns around the AstraZeneca vaccine, already being administered to thousands of Liberians, noting that, “the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks, and the communication from WHO and relevant government agencies gives us confidence to proceed with vaccination to prevent a third wave of the pandemic.”

Former Health Minister Dr. Walter Gwenigale who witnessed the launch, said, “I congratulate Bong County for the landmark flag-off of the COVID19. WHO has endorsed the vaccine as safe and effective for emergency use.”