In times like these when the social media is fraught with contradictory information, deception, and fearmongering, it takes credible people of impeccable character with huge following to instill and sustain public confidence. In other jurisdictions, popular artists and legends throw themselves, or are thrown, into the spotlight to assure the public and direct the way forward. That’s exactly that has been happening since the introduction of vaccines to nip the rampaging COVID-19 into the bud and save humanity. Fearmongering and conspiracy theories have been rift against the vaccines, something that is undermining world efforts to battle the pandemic. The naysaying also permeates the Liberian public, thus begging for the intervention of people of refined character and enormous public respect to stand in the gap. Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, whose administration beat the deadly Ebola Virus, has given in—submitting herself to be the very first high profile Liberian to take the Coronavirus vaccine. The Analyst reports.
As the international community combats the world’s worst pandemic in centuries, it also is compelled to combat misguided individuals and organizations undermining efforts to end the scourge. Vaccines developed to shield the human race from COVID-19 are fallen to conspiracies theories discouraging people from taking them.
Towards assuring public confidence about the safety of the vaccines, credible individuals and eminent personalities of various countries are coming out not only to speak against the conspiracy theories but also to offer to be the first to take the vaccines.
In Liberia, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is also Co-Chairperson of the World Health Organization’s Pandemic Review Panel, is the first eminent person of Liberia to submit her body to the vaccine.
On Friday, April 30, 2021, she took the Covid 19 vaccine which was recently donated to Liberia by the World Health Organization (WHO) to prevent the spread of the deadly virus in the country.
The offer of the former Liberian Head of State, and one of Africa’s celebrated former Presidents, is a major boost to the efforts of the government and other stakeholders, especially the international development partners, working to enlist the cooperation of Liberians against the background of conspiracy theories that emerged to discredit the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.
It can be recalled that after receiving 96,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, through the COVAX facility, Liberia on April 1, 2021, joined many countries to officially launch the vaccination campaign against COVID-19.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, launched the vaccine at the Ministerial Complex in the presence of the UN Head of Agencies, the United Kingdom and European Union Ambassadors, Representatives of other development partners, Cabinet Ministers, chairs of the health committees at the legislature, senior government officials and the media.
The former Liberian leader’s offer to lead the vaccination process has been viewed widely by many persons who spoke to our reporters that it will help allay fear from the minds of people who have been expressing doubts about the vaccines.
A resident of Sinkor, Madam Mercy Davies, told our reporter that Liberians should now begin to believe that the vaccine can work and that it is not harmful.
“From what the former President did by inviting the COVID Vaccine Team at her residence and she took the vaccine should be something cheering to us. She believes taking the vaccine is not dangerous and risky as some people make us to believe. For me, if I have the chance of taking it today, I will go there and take it,” Mercy said
Another resident of Montserrado County, James S. Selma, said Liberians prefer to be risking their lives doubting things that will save them than taking bold steps to prevent any ugly occurrence especially with health matters.
“This is something that has come to be part of us. We take chances with our own life in the name of preventing dangers but when it gets serious, we run back to what we were afraid of. This covid 19 disease is serious all over the world and we must be grateful that a high profile person like our former President, Madam Sirleaf has led the way for us”, Mr. Selma said.