Liberia: It’s Time For Massive Awareness On Covid-19 Vaccination
MANY PEOPLE are giving various interpretations to the covid-19 vaccines — some positive and others very negative.
INDEED, there are a lot of fallacies and controversies out there and we need to disabuse the minds of the citizenry by assuring them that the use of the vaccine is a major complementary measure for breaking the COVID-19 transmission.
AS THE GOVERNMENT launched the vaccination campaign on Thursday, FrontPageAfrica took to the streets to hear from ordinary Liberians about their willingness to voluntarily get a shot of the vaccine. Unfortunately, many are opposed to vaccination – largely due to ignorance and distrust.
THE VACCINATION campaigned is a joint partnership among the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, UNICEF, USAID, African Union and GAVI are partnering with the Ministry of Health to begin immunization of its citizens across the country.
HEALTH MINISTER Dr. Wilhemina Jallah assured the public that the benefit of the AstraZeneca vaccines outweighs its risks.
SHE SAID THE VACCINE is a critical new tool in the battle against the coronavirus which has claimed the lives of 2.28 million people globally.
“Today, we have the opportunity to receive the vaccine to be safe. I hope everyone is warming up to take their vaccine,” Minister Jallah said.
“We are confident to say that the vaccines are safe and encouraging Liberians from all walks of life to be vaccinated because of all of the vaccines were tested in state of-the-art laboratories, tried in thousands of renowned clinics and approved by WHO.”
BUT INADEQUATE PUBLIC awareness on the vaccination will surely lead to people snubbing the process.
DORIS GAYE, a petty trader on Randall Street told FrontPageAfrica, “I will not take the coronavirus vaccine. God will prevent me and my family. I do not trust the vaccine. I do not trust anybody. Even when President Weah, his Vice President and all the big people in this country take the coronavirus vaccine, I and my family will not take it. I know God will protect me and my family and nothing will happen to us.”
SAMUEL KORYOA, Vender at Rally Town Market also said: “For me, I do not think I am prepared to take the vaccine. The first thing I need to understand which type of product is this vaccine. Because of what I have learned from international news, the vaccine is not yet 100 percent safe.
EVEN IF THE PRESIDENT and his officials take the vaccine, I want the scientific proof, wherein the producer of this vaccine can assure that yes, this vaccine is 100 percent safe like the Polio vaccine, the Yellow Fever vaccine – all of those are safe for human consumption. So, until the coronavirus vaccine can reach that process, I will not take it.”
ERIC S. MYERS, an alumna of the University of Liberia told FrontPageAfrica: “It [The vaccine] is good but I want the government officials to be the first to take the coronavirus vaccine. They got to be the first to test it before the citizens. You cannot risk any citizen’s life, they got to test it first.
“In other countries, people are refusing to take the vaccine, so if our government officials can be the first to take the vaccine then it would not be bad for me to take it. Anything below that, I will not take the vaccine.
“President Weah and his officials should lead by example. Other countries’ leaders were the first to take the vaccine and so in Liberia, we will not be used as scapegoat. They brought the vaccine; they said the vaccine is good. So, inasmuch it is good, they got to be the first to try it.”
CERTAINLY, VACCINES remain the safest, most cost-effective protection against contagious diseases and will provide a powerful tool to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
THERE IS, THEREFORE, the need for a massive, deliberate and sustained national educational campaign on the vaccine to provide the right and relevant information for the people.
AT THIS STAGE, we urge the public to disregard all myths concerning the COVID-19 vaccine and avail themselves for vaccination which has already started.
THERE IS NO DOUBT that every medication, and by extension vaccine, has side effects which trials confirm are not fatal.
THESE SIDE EFFECTS, which include mild fevers and headaches, are not certain to manifest in everybody who takes the vaccine.
THE GOOD NEWS is that the Health Ministry and the international community has assured us that the vaccine is safe and efficacious. In addition to that, there has been no incident of any death associated with the vaccine.
WE NEED MORE information on the vaccination programme to put everybody at ease. At this stage, there is no need for anxiety.
AS WE ALL WAIT patiently to be vaccinated, let us continue to follow the COVID-19 safety protocols. It is the surest means to keep safe.