We have vaccinated over 150,000 people with first dose and nearly 90,000 second dose – says President Bio

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 July 2021:

On Monday, President Bio and Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr Autin Demby, concluded a teleconference with Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi the vaccine alliance, resulting in the agreement to deliver another consignment of vaccines very soon to Sierra Leone.

The President said he appreciated the call and the continued support to Sierra Leone through the COVAX facility, adding that he was particularly grateful for Dr Berkley’s personal engagement with his government, especially relating to their routine immunisation services through GAVI.

“We have so far vaccinated over 150,000 individuals with the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines and nearly 90,000 with their second dose. We have worked hard to create demand for these vaccines and now that the general population is ready for and demanding to be vaccinated, we cannot afford to interrupt the process.

“I am, therefore, asking for expedited delivery of these needed vaccines, especially the AstraZeneca vaccine over the next week and no later than the end of July.

“Our population is very familiar with the AstraZeneca vaccine, staff have been trained in its delivery and we have obtained the necessary Emergency Use Authorisation from our Regulatory Agency, the National Pharmacy Board,” President Bio said.

President Bio noted that with ongoing efforts demand for vaccination is high in the country, emphasising that any disruption of availability, especially the all too familiar AstraZeneca vaccine, would have major consequences on the country’s response to the pandemic.

“We cannot afford to wait till late August/September to continue our vaccination campaign with the AstraZeneca vaccine. It is, therefore, important that we prevail on COVAX to rush-deliver the AstraZeneca vaccine even as we await the other promises,” he said to Dr Berkley.

Dr Berkley, who is a medical doctor specialised in infectious disease epidemiology and global health, assured those additional vaccines will be available in Sierra Leone from end of July to September, so that the vaccination exercise in the country would not be interrupted.

“We are eager to partner with you. Thank you very much for your leadership. We need all the champions we can get,” he told president Bio.

Dr Seth Berkly was formerly with the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Rockefeller Foundation before founding the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. In 2009 he was recognised as one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World”.

15 Comments

  1. Thanks very much, Mr Reinhard Wiecha, we can finally agree to disagree.”Wir Stimmen zu, Nich Zuzustimmen” This is what debating, and defending and holding on to your opinion is all about . The right to express your opinion with out being censored by Taliban like self appointed guardians of free speech, is the principle under which we all contribute in this respectable on line news outlet we call the Sierra-leone Telegraph.And thanks to the editor Mr Abdul Rashid Thomas, and his team, they are always on cue to remind individuals that step out of line, and restore to gutter journalism, what freedom of speech is all about. The right to offend and be offended. It doesn’t mean I am not seeing your argument from your own point of view. We might be looking at the same set of covid19 traffice lights and the whole malarkey of whether to take the vaccine or not, and reach our own conclusions . At the end of the day, individuals have to wrestle with their consciences and make their own judgement.

    No one is going to force anyone to be vaccinated . So getting hot under the collar because one doesn’t have the same beliefs is a fools errands. On the subject of Covid19 traffice lights, I might misinterpret a red signal for green. Then I might have an all mighty crash. For me it is too late. But that in itself doesn’t suggest I am loosing my eye sight or mental faculties because I can’t think for myself .Or let others do the thinking for me. Far from it. Just that I ignored the warnings. I respect your opinion, and every one’s eles.But it doesn’t mean I have to buy into it. I have my own opinions which very much dictate my being. And this is what is lacking in Sierra Leonean society .And its runs line a straight line, from the top to the bottom heap of the pyramid of society . Everyone is opinionated.And thats what matters. I totally reject the suppression of the individual rights to express themselves. How ever farfetched their beliefs runs counter to my beliefs.

    The president believes only his opinions matters. And that thinking, is not restricted to Bio alone, is a national disease. Until, and unless we allow people to express their feelings and beliefs, chances are our country will never able to move forward. Freedom of Speech, that is enshrined in our constitution, is a fundamental human right that is the pillar of a well functioning democracy. Without it, we might all move in to countries control by dictatorship. Yes your advice not to turst the media, well any African worth his salt knows, with out being reminded, how our continent is portrayed in western media. If you have never been to any African country, you will be forgiven to think Africa is full of wars, poverty and extreme porverty. That all Africans, dress, speak, and behave like zulu warriors as portrayed in the film Zulu. Nothing wrong with Zulus upholding their traditional culture.And I respect that. I respect Fulani herdsmen culture. Which is part of my DNA.

  2. Ah well you did ask a question regarding if I knew people that have died. Keep shifting the goal post and promoting fear mongering to a population that is already traumatised, doesn’t do know one any good. If you put up an arguments against a an issue, be it the taking of the covid19 vaccine, surely, you most have an alternative to the vaccination programmes you are against. Now the point is whether you take it or not, thats a decision for you to make. If I gambled by taking the covid19 Vaccine, with out thinking through the consequences, and after witnesses so many deaths, anything that stop that sort of thing happening in my view is a gamble worth taking. Yes on the questions of Blair and Bush wars, in Iraq in overthrowing Saddam Hussain and his genocidal regime that gas tbe Kurds in the town of Halabjah in 1988, killing thousands of men women and and children, and the Iran, Iraq war for which he started in late 80s that cost the lives of millions of people on both side of that conflict,I don’t think many Iraqi Kurds would have shed tears for Saddam Hussain and his psychopathic son, especially Uday’s demise.

    The point about Tony Blair he is not everyone’s cup of tea. But if you were in Sierra Leone in January 1999, when RUF thugs and West side boys invaded the capital of Sierra Leone, killing and pillaging and raping women and girls, and carrying out amputation, any one who would have come to save Sierra Leone from that mad max war , whether is Saddam or Blair, or the pope, in this case was ECOWAS and the British government under Tony Blair, you can’t underestimate the depth of gratitude the people of Sierra Leone have for him. Probably after Kosovo, Sierra-leone is the only country in the world that still holds him to heart. One mans terrorist is an other mans freedom fighter. So tell me what is your advice on covid19?

    • Mr. Jjalloh, I believe here is not right forum to talk about the backgrounds and the history of this Iraq war and the involvement of usa and britain. My advice to covid 19: keep cool don’t fall in panic, keep distance to people with symptoms which can have different reasons. don’t trust only the PCR-test. on special alternative media you will find a lot of critical voices (per example in germany the “corona-ausschuss.de” – sorry, but most time in german language). don’t trust only statements of governments, hopkins and WHO.

  3. Mr Wiecha – You are one of the most prudent and authentic voices on this glorious forum; The advice you have been emphasizing to our people to tread cautiously with regards to the Covid19 issues has been priceless – right on the money Sir. The facts of the matter are very clear – Taking these Covid 19 vaccines is like playing a Guessing Game with your life – True. You are taking chances,not ever knowing what the results will be or how things will turn out. The stories about that debilitating side effects of these hastily manufactured vaccines are all true, even though BIG PHARMA that is raking in millions of dollars daily doesn’t want people to know the truth. The concerns being raised by “Anti-Vaxxers,” are all legitimate and totally precise. Now I have always maintained that our poor people do not know how to think for themselves so they are prone to believe in any dubious scheme or lie that our clueless leader will tell them.

    In our Sierra Leone, government in power has provided very little information to our people about the pros and con’s of taking these vaccines; And to add raw salt to already open wounds they have been red-listed by the UK for their outright incompetence in dealing with the threats posed by Covid 19. My advice to our people remains unchanged – Do not let any cheap political propaganda that promotes fear coerce you to take any vaccine – Demand proof of its effectiveness from the people who have already been vaccinated; To our suffering uneducated folks I say – Ask a lot of questions and listening to your heart before making any critical decisions that will change your life; Its all in your hands – To be a Guinea Pig or not to Be even though its crystal clear you were born in little Sierra Leone,the only place I am proud to call my precious home.(lol)

  4. Yes I have. I certainly spoken to them before and I know them very well.May their souls rest in peace. If you are asking me for their death certificate, that is taken the argument against taking the vacine too far. I will just refer you to the official Sierra Leone government figures,like the ones produced by the government appointed body spare heading the fight against the pandemic in Sierra Leone. Or Better still the German government own data on the amount of German people that have lost their lives to this deadly virus. Or if you still harbours doubt about the covid19 pandemic, visit the reputable John Hopkins University, web site that have been recoding infection rates in various countries around the world, and also recording deaths and recovery for the unfortunate people. My Father just recovered from Covid19, and the reason he was hospitalise, is because he refused to take the vaccine. But when he had his near death experience with covid19, he has become a convert. He is happy to take it.And now is advicing all the doubters to take it.

    Maybe you might think I am some Conservative in thinking sort of person. Iam neither a lunny left, or neo con conspiracy theorist. My poltices is based on what is good for Sierra Leone. In my students days I have led demonstration against the Momoh government in Makeni.Demonstrated against Apartheid South Africa. Sorry I have to bring my own personal stroy into it, but if it makes you and others that share this antagonists approach towards the vaccine, and save one Sierra Leonean life,I think I have done my duty. Mr Wiecha, I pray you never catch the Covid 19 , virus to change your opposition to the Vaccine.Because for me and members of my family, it was not a fun moment to watch your love ones suffer. Unless you can give us an alternative to the vaccine, which I will be happy to take, maybe some voodoo water developed by our own Mr Reinhad Wiecha , I am happy to try it.Since you have demonstrated your knowledge of Sierra Leone, you most have come across people that believes in witchcraft.

    Your contribution to this debate is making it hard for our government to convince a sceptical public. Recently the Bio government have to destroy expired Covid19 vaccines because of low up take. I certainly don’t blame you, but your contribution is making the case harder. Our level of illiteracy in the country is one of the highest in west Africa. So in your humble opinion what is the solution to the pandemic? If you think is voodoo water, please let us know. I will tell all Sierra Leoneans to go and have them vaccinated with voodoo water or any thing. At the end of the day we just want to see the back of this virus that is killing my fellow Sierra-leoneans. In thanking you for saving so many Sierra Leoneans lives, we might appoint you as one of our paramount Chiefs in one of our Chiefdoms in Konaidugu District. Former British Premier Tony Blair was made a local Chief, so was former British high commissioner Peter Penflod,for helping end the RUF wars. You are next in line.

    • Thank you Mr. Jalloh, but please don’t bring me in one line with Tony Blair. May be you remember his lies during the Iraq war.

  5. Thanks Mr Weicha, I am totally with you in supporting freedom of choice. In some countries like Australia Northern territories, the 1995 euthanasia Act or assisted suicide for terminally ill people was passed. And more recently, the Netherlands became the first country to decriminalise tbe act of assisted suicide. So even the right to die is no more the the sole prerogative of our maker or the state . The choice is now in our hands. Your timming and what music to play during our funerals is all in our hands. Goodness gracious, when it comes to the freedom of choice, we have never had it to so good. The right to die. Basically this debate about taking the vaccine or not is now in the hands of people. Governments will not force you or your local priest, or Imam to tell you what is best for you. What is an unforgiveable sin is to campaign against it. Or convincing others not to take it. Especially a country like Sierra-leone where the illiteracy rate is high.

    To be honest Voluntary mass Vaccination yes, I am all for it. Compulsory vaccination, depends on your line of work. If you are a medical doctor, student, School teachers, university students and their lecturers , or working in old people’s homes looking after the sick and elderly, hospitals staff, police officers, fire officers, prison officers, members of Parliament, the army, anywhere that you are complied to work to make a living , in such environment where you have a larg gathering of people, yes compulsory vaccination should be mandatory. Where it should also apply, but not necessary force on people, is like night clubs, places of worship, and the whole malarkey of where people tend to socially congregates.This fear mongering from vaccine deniers needs to be address quickly, if we really need to see the back of this deadly virus.

    Joe Biden the US president, a straight talker, last week blame some social media giants for not doing enough to take down this conspiracy theory covid19 sites. Now the United States one of the country’s that was most impacted by covid19, has more vaccine diners than most countries can munster. I know what happening around me, I took my vaccine, I know people that have died of Covid19, so for me, the continued denial of its existence, is no brainer.

    • Mr. Jalloh, do you really know which people have died directly cause of covid 19? most of cases specially older people have died are in connection with other diseases or cause of their weak immune-system. This all had nothing to do with conspiracy theory. for example in israel people “full” vaccinated became sick again, so they now should take a 3. vaccination. what’s with you?

  6. Yeah. You don’t doubt a vaccine that was developed by a scientist in a country that is the world’s No.1 in genome sequencing, the United Kingdom. The AstraZeneca jab is cheap, reliable, effective and easy to store. Everyone in the world including President Bio realized that. Forget about the Chinese jab. It’s time to start going west for quality and prosperity. We will definitely be mid West in the not too distant future. “We day na road”. Mr President, Seventy Million Dollars is more than enough to let every Sierra Leonean get the world’s No.1 Covid jab, AstraZeneca. It’s not a big amount when you compare it with the massive amount of money squandered by some government and opposition officials. When you think of British standards, think AstraZeneca. Think about that Mr President and thank you very much for listening. God bless our people and the AstraZeneca vaccine roll out exercise.

    • Mr. Matturi, you are employed by the astra zeneca company or do you own shares of this company? there are a lot of other vaccines, but all of them have side effects and nobody knows up to now the long-term damage of this new mRNA vaccines.

      • Do all us a favour, if you don’t want to take the vaccine, no one will tie you down on a gurney like someone awaiting his final moments in a death row chamber, and forced you to take the vaccine. But in a country where authorities are battling with conspiracy theorist, traditional beliefs, that sounds like people who believe in UFOs invading planet earth, or the Moon landing never took place, and Elvis will return, or more recently delusional supporters tbat storm the capitol building in Washington DC, trying to “STOP THE STEAL” that strongly believe or are led to believe the Trump presidency was stolen. One cannot not help associate those ways of thinking is very similar, or swimming in the same wave length of misguided thinking that the current campaign against Covid19 is if anything but similar in thinking and mindset. These are people that think for themselves but let others think for them.

        I fully respect those people who think like that, but even though I totally disagree with their line of arguments. But if they want to convince me otherwise, my only question for vaccine sceptics is what is the alternative? Do we have to sit and wait for the normal ten years of research from the embryonic research stages of how to tackle this deadly virus to the delivery of the vaccine that will be acceptable to all? Surely, since the pandemic started at the back end of 2019, and spread around in every corner of world, killing more than 2 millions people, and caused untold mental hardship due to covid19 restrictions, are we now saying we need more people to die because they are listening to covid19 deniers.

        For those of us that are already vaccinated, Please spare us your sympathy. Leave us to die in agony and breathlessness, because the vaccine was developed less tban the time it was supposed to be developed. To be honest it serves no purpose to the Internet conspiracy agents of death vaccine deniers that pile their trade on a gullible audience. Leave people to exercise their right to choose, but don’t choose for them. That is a form of dictatorship.

        • Sorry Mr. Jalloh, may be you only read and listen the more and more government influenced mainstream media. Worldwide like in Britain, France, Germany, Australia there is a growing protest against this covid 19 measures. And these people are not deniers of this virus, but democrats who are fighting this panic and the associated limitations of our fundamental rights. Soon, I believe the compulsory vaccination will come. That is ok for you?

      • Mr Wiecha. That is a good point. These vaccines are approved for emergency use, furthermore, the manufacturers are not liable for any harm caused by the vaccine.
        TIA this is Africa and we still kowtow to the imperialist powers.

        • Mr Africanist, forget about blaming all our man made problems on imperialist powers and colonialism. China and Korea were at some point colonised by Japanese imperial powers. India, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, and the list of countries goes on and on, were also colonised by the British. Now I am not suggesting in any way or form that doesn’t have an impact on those countries.The Aborigins, of Australia, the Moari people of New Zealand, and the Red Indians the original inhabitants of the United States. The enslaved Africans from our continent. Indeed the Great wall of China is a testament of how the Chinese people went to lengths to stop outside invaders coming in to their lands to enslaved them, and subjugate them. Yes our country was one of the main departure point for enslaved Africans to the Americas and so Called New World.

          Today our Morden day slave owners and Slave masters is our own Sierra Leonean brothers and Sisters that is holding our countrys destiny at their hands. You cannot and should not blame Western powers, or imperialism, or Neo colonialism for the Corruption and miss using of public funds by some of Bio’s ministers on Western powers. That is stretching the blame game too far. Mr Chenor Bah and the Africanist press have exposed that much. We need a government that caters for it people, not a government for family members and supporters only. Bio admitted he only appoints people in he knows. If that means they are all a monolithic and uniform, and speak in the same dialects so be it. The rest of us that doesn’t fit the bill can jog on. Our country should not be in position where someone have to manufacture a vaccine and give it to us.

          If governments have invested from day one on education and research facilities in our country, maybe a vaccine made by Sierra-leoneans will be more easy to sell to the population than one that is manufactured in India or Belgium. Believe it or not, India one of few country’s around the world that manufacture this vaccine, for which there former colonial power the British depends on was once a British colony just like Sierra-leone. So we need to stop this blame game and figure out how to develop our tiny country with huge natural resources. The main enemies of Sierra Leone are not foreigners. But home grown unpatriotic Sierra Leonean politicians. But if you find yourself in the pressure cooker of Sierra Leone politics grasping at straws, wondering why our country is not developing, look at the lifestyle of our politicians.

  7. This vaccination exercise by the government of Sierra Leone still has a lot of unanswered questions swinging and dangling over it like a monkey on a tree. Many people are still having doubts about the safety of these vaccines and are waiting for answers from the government but not a word has been uttered, whispered or hollered by any diligent public official in the SLPP government. I would like to see open discussions in Town Hall meetings across the country where people can voice their concerns about vaccination and this hasty process that is also being improperly managed,supervised and poorly implemented. You don’t vaccinate thousands of people in a country of millions and then pat yourself on the back and say we are making progress. Progress? (lol)

    Oh, Is this paltry effort of yours the best you can do? Give me a break man ! Government should not keep on procrastinating and wasting precious time but should be up and doing,creating avenues and channels for educating those who are still hesitant and wary of taking the Covid vaccine; They should use those who have already been successfully vaccinated as credible examples that taking the Covid 19 vaccine is very easy and safe.150 thousand people in a country of millions and you are here applauding yourself. Hahahaha…Hey man! You are still in first gear Mr President; Its time to shift to a higher gear and accelerate like a bullet out of sight.(lol)

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