Paynesville, Montserrado County — As the objective to vaccinate at least 10% of the country’s total population continues, the Montserrado County Health Team has begun “Taking the vaccines to the People” campaign. The drive, according to the Montserrado County Health Officer Dr. Yatta Wapoe, is geared towards vaccinating many people to meet the 10% target set by the World Health Organization.
Report By: Tina Mehnpaine | Inspires Health Reporting Fellow
The World Health Organization has requested that every country vaccinate at least 10 percent of its population by the end of September 2021; at least 40 percent by the end of the year, and 70 percent globally by the middle of 2022. According to Acting WHO Country Representative to Liberia, Dr. Zabulon Yoti, the target will help reduce deaths and disruptions caused by the pandemic.
And as Liberia aims to reach this milestone, there seems to be some challenges. Dr. Wapoe said many people have not taken their second dose of AstraZeneca or the single dose Johnson & Johnson due to their busy engagements. Therefore, the CHT is going from community to community to ensure people get the vaccines, she said.
The vaccination mobile team, on the invitation of the Calvary Baptist Church on 18th Street,Sinkor, vaccinated about 70 members of the church on Sunday, September 26. Also, the team attending events, occasions, and any large gathering to do vaccination campaign. The team showed up at the World Tourism Day held on Saturday, September 23 held at the Paynesville City Hall to vaccinate people attending the event.
“Today is World Tourism Day and as a county health team we have decided to partner with the government to vaccinate people.” Dr. Wapoe said at the Paynesville City Hall where the event was being held.
Many people agreed to get vaccinated including Hawa H. Clarke, who was celebrating the festival which is was intended to showcase Liberia’s cultural heritage including food and fashion.
“I had long wanted to take the vaccine but due to my busy schedule I was unable to get it,” explains Clarke after getting her jab. “Thank God the Ministry Health finally brought the vaccine in my community.”
Archie Ramsey, a resident of the AB Tolbert Road community who was also at the tourism fair, suggested that the government needs to do a house-house vaccination exercise because there are a lot of people who are not aware of the designated areas to go for the vaccines. “People want to get the vaccine, but they don’t know where and how to get it,” he added.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020, there has been misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccines. Although there are ongoing campaigns to debunk these misinformation sand misconceptions, some people are still afraid to get the vaccine. And the Montserrado County Health Officer says massive awareness are being conducted in communities to help curb the spread of misinformation.
“We are engaging press clubs in various high schools telling them to encourage their colleagues that are of age to get the vaccine,” Dr. Wapoe said, adding that the CHT has also deployed mobile teams in Central Monrovia, the Commonwealth District, Somalia drive, Careysburg, Todee, Bushrod Island, and the St. Paul Bridge community, amongst others, to carry out awareness and vaccination campaigns.
“We are going from one community to another vaccinating people,” she said. “If you have a business institution like banks and you are overburdened with work, once you contact us, we will go with our mobile team to vaccinate the workers.”
Currently, Montserrado County has nine active cases – three persons are in treatment units and they are doing well while the other six are in their respective homes receiving treatment by our home-based care team, said Dr. Wopoe.
Meanwhile, as the CHT strives to rollout the vaccines using mobile vaccination teams some workplaces have utilized the team to ensure their employers are vaccinated.
Morris Teah, a staff of the Adventist University, took the vaccine because it was a requirement to remain at work. He said, “our bosses requested us to take the vaccine, so I had to take it when the mobile team arrived at our office”.
Like Teah, Alex Jones was also required to take the vaccine before resuming work. “I had no option but to take the vaccine because my boss had mandated all staff to get vaccinated or leave the job,” he said.
Like some employers, some colleges have begun requesting COVID-19 vaccination certificate or card as an enrollment requirement.
Joseph Smith said the Blue Crest University College has requested that he brings a COVID-19 certificate or card before enrolling at the institution.