By: Rancy S. Teewia
The Minister of Health Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah has been speaking against speculations that the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine brought to the country is harmful, cautioning Liberians bent on spreading the rumors to desist from spreading falsehoods about health issues.
While advising rumor mongers to help find solutions to the health problems the country faces, Dr. Jallah observed that some people are bent on spreading rumors about the COVID-19 Vaccine in the country. She clarified the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is not harmful and should be accepted by the people of Liberia.
She spoke when she addressed a special media engagement activity organized by the Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism over the weekend
“I am hearing people spreading rumors that the vaccine will cause infertility and that they will put chips in people’s arms,” the Health Minister said when she addressed a special press conference organized by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism. But the Minister indicated that such speculations are not true, calling on the rumor mongers to desist from spreading such news.
The MOH Boss also disclosed that Liberia has received two batches of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine which amount to 123,000 doses of the vaccines.
She further explained that a dose from each of the two consignments is needed to pair with content from the other consignment to complete the dose of the vaccine, noting that there are enough of the vaccine doses available to serve people that are exposed to the CoronaVirus
She asserted that the Ministry of Health in Collaboration with the National Public Health Institute has selected eight sites where the vaccine will be administered, including four Public hospitals and four private hospitals.
She named the public hospitals to include Redemption, JFK Medical Center, JBK and the 14th Military Hospitals.
For the private sector hospitals, Dr. Jallah named the St. Joseph Catholic, ELWA Hospital, SOS Hospitals and the UN Clinic.
“And after the launching [of the vaccine], we will announce the date that we will start administering the vaccine so that people will go at the respective sites name,” Dr. Jallah disclosed.
The health minister said prior to the application of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine to the general public, the Ministry will conduct sufficient awareness campaigns in order to educate the people about the vaccine.
She maintained that MOH will call town hall meetings, invite the inter-religious Council while at the same time engage marketplaces as part of the vaccination awareness campaign.
“We are not forcing anybody to take this vaccine,” she said, and noted, “but we are encouraging everyone to take it.”
Dr. Jallah pointed out that testing will not be conducted at the vaccine site, but they will only interrogate people to identify people with co-mobility such as high blood pressure, Sugar, and other diseases.
She said when the vaccine is taken, there will be common symptoms such as feeling sleepy, tiredness and others. And after a few minutes the vaccine taker will get stabilized because these are common symptoms of medications.”
Dr. Jallah also noted that the British Health Authority has put out a release about the vaccine; she referenced the British release by saying that the vaccine is 79% efficient against CoronaVirus and those who have symptomatic diseases, and 100% efficient for those who have severe diseases.
“So we are begging every one of you not to be afraid because the vaccine is good; go and take your vaccine,” Dr. Jallah.
The Health Ministry boss also identified those who are eligible that will be vaccinated. She said Healthcare Workers are number one, adding that the health workers are the first contact during the outbreak of any pestilence. “People who are 60 years older and people who are exposed based on their Job will have the second preference.”
At same time, the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the National Public Health Institute of Liberia has launched a nationwide Polio vaccine Campaign for children under the age of 5 years.
Health Minister Jallah said administering the vaccine will be a door-to-door campaign, indicating that the MOH will embark on another campaign for Typhoid for children under 14 years in April of this year.