Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 December 2021:
168,000 single-dose of Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine arrived in Freetown last Friday, to help boost the campaign to have more people vaccinated in Sierra Leone ahead of what scientists say is going to be another severe wave of the pandemic in the New Year.
Less than 6% of the population of Sierra Leone has received a single dose of the Covid vaccine. Official records show that so far, Sierra Leone has got off lightly in terms of number of cases and deaths.
“This delivery of Johnson & Johnson vaccines is the most recent example of the United States’ partnership with the government of Sierra Leone in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic,” said U.S. Ambassador David Reimer.
“As new variants continue to be discovered and holiday travel potentially exposes more people to increased transmission risks, vaccination and mitigation are more important than ever, and the United States remains a firm partner in this effort,” Reimer explained.
The United States has donated more vaccines to Sierra Leone than any other country. Sierra Leone has received 5 donations from the United States since the start of the pandemic, totaling almost 900,000 vaccine doses received.
U.S. support extends beyond the donation of vaccines. Since the start of the pandemic, the United States has committed over $16 million in support to the Ministry of Health & Sanitation, stakeholders, and communities to prevent and respond to COVID-19 and provided technical support for vaccine in Sierra Leone.
Hundreds of health providers in field epidemiology have been trained through U.S. sponsored programs, and Sierra Leone’s capacity to gather data to monitor the disease and inform planning and response has improved.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, the United States through USAID and the U.S. Center for Disease Control has also improved the ability of health facilities across different districts in the country to implement infection prevention and control measures by providing personal protective equipment/supplies and training.
For example, earlier this month, the United States provided 77 solar refrigerators that will support Sierra Leone’s roll-out of lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines, without relying on regular access to electricity.
U.S. support has reached millions of Sierra Leoneans with COVID-19 prevention and vaccine messages and materials and trained 220 mobilizers to engage over 200,000 people on COVID-19 vaccination.
U.S. support has helped to mitigate the impact of the pandemic through the provision of direct cash transfers to almost 3,000 households in support of basic needs and provided food and nutrition assistance to individuals affected by COVID-19, including over 400 metric tons of specialized nutritious food to 582 health facilities across 9 districts.
Through our Office of Security Cooperation (OSC), the Departments of State and Defense partnered with the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to loan equipment to construct isolation facilities during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The equipment included water purification units, support vehicles, ambulances, water bowser, generators and tents with cots and bedding. Additionally, the OSC supported the RSLAF with medical supplies, personal protective equipment, and masks to support the fight against the pandemic.