Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 June 2021:
Sierra Leone’s agency responsible for managing the government’s Covid programme – NACOVERC, yesterday reported that 1,003 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded between 25th of May 2021 to 24th June 2021, with an increase of 8 deaths during that period, from 79 to 87, amid fears of rising Indian variant in the country.
According to NACOVERC, “Sierra Leone has experienced 1st and 2nd waves of Covid-19; and from all indications, Sierra Leone is now experiencing a 3rd wave as cases increase exponentially. Most of the positive cases in the 3rd wave are symptomatic.
“Government is considering progressive measures if cases keep increasing. The Indian variant otherwise known as Delta variant has been detected in two female samples.”
Yesterday, 103 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 5,155, with over 60% of the total confirmed cases in Freetown.
The government’s vaccination programme is struggling to take off due to very low take-up amid fears of safety.
Early this week a nurse working at the PCMH Hospital in Freetown died shortly after taking the vaccine, suspected of having serious underlying conditions. The woman was believed to have been suffering from asthma.
NACOVERC says that 101, 000 people have so far taken the first dose and 27,000 the second dose; and that “everyone should take the vaccines as they are safe and efficacious”.
“AstraZeneca and Sinopharm are the two vaccines that are available in Sierra Leone. There are 8 vaccination sites in Freetown. Freetown remains the epicentre of the virus. People 30 years and above should go for vaccine,” NACOVERC said yesterday.
Responding to growing speculation about the death of the nurse after taking the vaccine, this is what the ministry of health said:
I believe many more people are positive for Covid and dying in Freetown. The majority of people do not follow the rules even when attending the funeral of someone who died suddenly or after a short illness and after having breathing problems. Weddings are celebrated as if it is the pre covid era. Someone with a mask worn properly over the nose and mouth is rare to see during events in Freetown or even on the streets. I know a limited number of churches and mosques do give out masks to the congregation and encourage them to wear it properly.
The government has to be more aggressive in promoting the proper use of masks, use of hand sanitisers and use of Veronica buckets. Most shops have a bucket in front of their shops but shop keepers never even remember to ask people to wash hands before entering their shops. Masks are even rarer, even in the busiest central shopping district of Freetown. As for the vaccine, people are so scared of taking the vaccine, not realising that the risk of death if they catch Covid is far greater than the risk of death from taking the vaccine.
What eles can go wrong? Now with covid19 case numbers on the rise, I think the government needs to resuscitate the the strict covid19 rules, and implement them in the hot spot areas where the delta virus has been identified and taken root, to stop it from spreading to other communities . Of course implementing, and policing this covid19 rules in some of this hot spot areas where people live cheek and jowl, is not going to be easy. Certainly, is not for the faint hearted. As the latest results are showing, the virus is growing expediently amongst concentrated population areas. Maybe localised lockdown, and with governments support for families, and livelihoods in this local areas, is the only way forward as we awaits the accelerated nation wide vaccine roll out. The Bio government, and NOCOVERC, needs to sanitised the covid19 vacine information,and its effectiveness.
At the end of the day, whatever the arguments, for or against taking the vacine, and most importantly the side effects it has on individuals, giving the vacine to those that are offered, and willing to take the jab, maybe is the only ray of light at the end of this dark tunnel we found ourselves.The best hope and the only alternative left with us to beat the virus. Anything eles, is for the talking heads to chew over. As it has shown in other countries witb successfull vacine roll out, is by far our only sure bet that will help us beat this deadly pandemic. Public awareness, trust, and information given by the government, and public health officials, has to be with honesty, transparency and truthfulness, back up by medical evidence. We all know under Bio thats a big almighty ask.
Maybe with little bit of help, from Paramount Chief, section chiefs, headmen and faith leaders, they should be appointed covid19 champions in their local area. Maybe the government will do well if they delegate the power of persuasion tribal eldeers, faith leaders Yes around the world there has been reported deaths as a result of taking the jab. But if we compare like for like deaths, covid19 have claimed more victims than the vaccine. countries that are already way ahead in the vaccination programmes of their populations, there has been a tangible reduction in hospitalizations and deaths. Thats where we want our country to be.