Liberia’s Disease Expert Conducts Community Engagements Raises COVID-19 Vaccination Awareness in Communities

NIH-trained Liberian infectious disease scientist, Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan has begun numerous community engagements aimed at educating the public on the importance of taking the COVID-19 Vaccine in Liberia and across Africa. Residents are responding positively to his awareness message to take the vaccine.

As vaccine hesitancy grows in the public in Liberia, Dr. Nyan recently met with community dwellers and leaders in the Bassa Community area in central Monrovia, in Paynesville, Caldwell, New Georgia, and the SKD Sports Complex where he has carried out community awareness about the COVID-19 vaccination since he arrived in the country roughly two weeks ago. He said that the “community leaders will play a cardinal role in the roll-out and convincing community dwellers to take the vaccine.”

During talks with community leaders and residents, Dr. Nyan addressed fears relating to vaccine side effects, stating that, “the COVID-19 vaccines that have been granted emergency approvals are safe and effective, and the benefit of taking the vaccine is more than the risk of not taking it.” He also added that the vaccines are not for sale, that the vaccines are free.

He continued: “Many people in Liberia and other parts of the world are afraid of taking the vaccine because of the lack of proper awareness, mis-information about the vaccine, people not understanding the science, and because of the lack of trust.”

Asked why we should take the vaccine when Liberia was not hard-hit with the pandemic, the award-winning scientist stressed that, “the best time to vaccinate is when you are not infected with the virus, and this will protect you and others from the diseases.”

Liberia is among many African countries that received the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine donated by GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines have been marred with controversy due to the “blood clotting” side effect associated with its administration.

The Chief Scientific and Medical Officer of Shufflex Biomed, Dr. Nyan also appeared on several radio and TV stations to strongly encourage residents to take the vaccines.

Readers following the “The Stage Media” a fact-checking entity of Bettie Johnson Mbayo and listening to Dr. Nyan on OK FM 99.5, Joy FM, Truth FM 96.1, and Kool FM 91.9 have responded with a change of mind and will take the vaccine as well as encourage others.

Responding to a question in a Truth FM interview, Dr. Nyan has suggested that health authorities in Liberia revised their vaccine roll-out protocol to make healthcare workers, the elder, and people with underlying health conditions as first in line to take the COVIS 19 Vaccine. He added that government officials should take the vaccines so as to encourage the citizens to take the vaccine.

Liberia’s current COVID-19 vaccine roll-out places Legislatures and other government officials as first-line recipients, but hardly any government official has taken the vaccine with growing calls for the President of Liberia to be the first to take the vaccine.

In early April, the Liberian infectious disease scientist wrote the Liberian government through President George Weah and Minister Nathaniel McGill saying: “I humbly submit to volunteering my expertise in helping with the COVID-19 Vaccination programme in Liberia”

“I will appreciate your response to my volunteering offer so that I can properly arrange my travel to Liberia after the Accra meeting and determine the duration of my stay in Liberia. I look forward to hearing from you soon,” the letter also stated.

Up to press time, there has not been a response from the Liberian government. This paper has learned that Dr. Nyan has left the country and is travelling back to Ghana, East Africa, and the United States.

Dr. Nyan is the inventor of the US-patented rapid multiplex pathogens diagnostic test that detects and simultaneously identifies multiple infections in less than an hour. The “Nyan-Test” is rapid, portable, affordable and easy to use in many settings.

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