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Gambia College: COVID-19 Vaccinated Students Urge Colleagues to take Vaccines

By Fatou Dahaba

As sensitization on COVID-19 vaccinations continues, covering schools has been an important segment to scale up COVID-19 vaccination coverage to 70% of the population by end of the year.

Scores of students at the Gambia College – the country’s only and oldest college, who spoke to this medium urged their fellow students to take covid-19 vaccines to protect their colleagues and families as the world continues to battle with the pandemic.

Isatou Tourayan, an advanced diploma student majoring Agriculture and Science, said she took COVID vaccination to protect herself from the deadly virus.
She believes being vaccinated will save her and have time for lectures without any interruptions and stay healthy.
“When I took the vaccine my health was normal, I had no minor illnesses for a long time although I felt somehow dizzy and then had to sleep for hours.”

The 20-year-old student advised her colleagues who are not vaccinated to take their vaccine to protect themselves and anyone close to them because COVID still exists and is a deadly virus.

Ebrima Ceesay, a student from the school of Public Health took his vaccine during the last vaccination campaign of the health ministry.

He said he believes in the effectiveness of COVID vaccines that’s why he took it.
“I have been an advocate for COVID-19 vaccinations in school here because this is the only way we can protect ourselves, families and others around us. If you’re not vaccinated it means we’re all at risk, so I am calling on to take their vaccine which is free,” he said.

Ousman Jallow, another Gambia college student, advised his colleagues to get their doses to protect everyone. “COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response without you having experienced potentially severe illness or post-COVID conditions.”

Ndumbeh Sarra, another student at Gambia College, is not vaccinated because she does not trust the effectiveness of the vaccines. According to her, she would only get vaccinated on the condition that she is to travel.
Ms. Sarra is scared of the side effects of vaccines, which is stopping her taking the jab.
“I heard a lot of people saying they had effects of tiredness and body ache after taking it which made me scared of taking it because I thought it wasn’t safe.”

The 22-year-old college student has no plan of taking COVID vaccination soon because she thinks she is fine and nothing is bothering her.

A press release from the Ministry of Health dated Thursday 16 September, 2022 states that the Ministry in collaboration with partners will embark on another round of a countrywide COVID-19 vaccination campaign from the 19th to 28th September 2022.

According to the release vaccination teams will be deployed to public places such as community “bantabas” (village centres) health facilities, schools, markets, crossing points, and other strategic locations.
The goal of this campaign is to vaccinate all eligible individuals from the age of 12 years and above. During the campaign, vaccination cards will be issued to any person that gets the jab. The card will serve as a vaccine passport, especially for people traveling to countries requiring proof of valid COVID-19 vaccination, thus everyone is urged to keep their vaccination cards safely.

Currently, the country has three types of vaccines, namely; Johnson& Johnson, Pfizer, and Sinopharm all of which are safe and effective in preventing severe COVID-19 infection, hospitalisation, and death.

This story was produced with support from Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), through its Mobilizing Media in the Fight against COVID-19 in partnership with Kaba Communications and The Daily News.

picture from UNICEF Gambia Facebook Page

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