Monrovia — Liberia's Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah has cautioned Liberians to come out and take the COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and stop asking questions about President George Weah's COVID-19 vaccine status.
Since the launch of the vaccines globally to reduce the risks of the virus, world leaders and heads of state have taken bold steps to being the first in administering the vaccines as a mean of encouraging their people to follow their lead. However, this is not the case with Liberia.
There have been growing concerns and staunch criticisms over President Weah's failure to lead the charge in encouraging the public to take the COVID-19 vaccines which have been here since April this year.
Dr. 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 Senate and Legislature, senior government officials and the media.
Immediately after the launch, Dr. Jallah was the first to receive her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccines together with more than 60 others dignitaries including the WHO Representative for Liberia, Ministers of information, Education and Chairpersons on Health in the House of Senate and Legislature.
Other high profile figures including ex-president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former VP Joseph N, Boakai and the Speaker of the House Representatives Dr. Bhofal Chambers all taking a shot of the vaccines and making it public to allay the fears and misinformation that have characterized Liberia's fight against COVID-19. But President Weah and his family continue to snub the vaccine.
As a result, critics and health experts have blamed the President's laze faire attitude toward the vaccination campaign as reasons behind the public lukewarm response to the vaccination campaign.
However, speaking in defense of her boss at the Ministry of Information's regular press briefing, Dr. Jallah said the public should not be concerned over whether the President has been immunized or not, rather they should focus on their own safety, adding, the President will take the vaccine when he is ready.
Dr. Jallah: "So this persistence on whether or not the President will take the vaccine is the President's prerogative. So, stop asking the question surrounding the President taking the vaccine. I'm sure when the President is ready, he will take the vaccine."
She added: "He has to protect himself, as well as you got to protect yourself. So, let's stick to what we got to do for our family."
She stressed the importance of members of the public to protect themselves to reduce the spread of the deadly deadly that has posed a serious challenge to the already struggling health sector.
Fighting COVID-19 and staying alive is an individual task as well as a collective task as a country, she says.
Liberia 96,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX facility on April 1, 2021, and joined many countries to officially launch the vaccination campaign against COVID-19. Since then, there have arrivals of several vaccines, including the recent arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
0.2 Percent Vaccinated
Also, at the press briefing, Minister Jallah revealed that 9,135 persons have been fully vaccinated. That, she says, accounts for 0.2 percent of the entire population of about five million people. Adding up, Dr. Jallah disclosed that 86,288 persons have taken only one dose of the vaccine. And that accounts for 1.2 percent of the population.
"Your demonstration of courage and fortitude during these difficult times to get vaccinated is highly appreciated. However, I would like to encourage every citizen to continuously observe the COVID-19 measures that are instituted by the Incident Management System," she said.