Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 August 2021:
Early this year, Sierra Leone’s ministry of health received 260,000 doses of covid vaccines from the international community to help the country’s fight against Covid-19. The vaccines, which came from China and western donor countries through the COVAX scheme, had latgely gone into the arms of those politicians, and health workers and their families that are willing to take the jab.
In June, ministry of health officials said that just over 60,000 people have had at least one dose of the vaccine, in a country with an adult population of over 5 million.
Last week, the COVAX scheme announced that it has shipped another 96,000 of AstraZeneca covid vaccine to Sierra Leone.
The number of reported covid cases in Sierra Leone has dropped to zero in the last few weeks, ironically – following UK’s decision to place Sierra Leone on the Red travel list of countries to which UK travellers are prohibited, except in extreme circumstances.
The government of Sierra Leone has imposed a night time curfew which starts at 11pm, along other measures such as banning of Sunday and Friday worship in Churches and Mosques. But the vaccine programme is almost non-existent as most Sierra Leoneans are either unaware of or reluctant to take the jab.
This is great news.If cases have now dropped to zero, together with the arrival of the Astrazeneca vaccine from COVAX, should be welcome all round . Last time the Sierra leone government was one of many African countries that stand accused by the World Health organisation, of putting to waste the COVID19 vaccines meant to be given to people, but instead ended in the waste bins .And since this vaccine life span is short in hot climates like ours, and even if we have the freezers to keep them to there required cooling temperatures, the constant power cuts in some parts of Freetown doesn’t bode well. This is a government making up decisions on the huff. This is clearly lack of leadership and sense of direction from the Bio government, and the Sierra leone health authorities responsible for the distribution of the vaccine around the country. Nevertheless, a dose of caution has to be thrown in the air.
A zero net recording, shouldn’t emboldened or make us complacent, and say the COVID19 virus is now under control. That taking the COVID19 vaccine is for Mummy’s Boys, or a sissy. If offered failing to take the vaccine is nothing about being a “MACHO MAN”. If anything the Bio government and our public health body responsible for implementation of the vaccination programme around the country, should redouble their efforts to inform the general public about the advantages of taken the vaccine. whilst at the same time, maintaining the mandatory protocols the government have put in place to curtail its spread.
Freetown and its population more than the city can handle , is fast becoming the epicentre of the spread of the virus. And city residents should be in the top priority list for the vaccine . Because when Freetown sneezes, the rest of the country catches cold.