By Ousainou J. Sawaneh
“All the videos and messages people were sending to their family members and friends regarding to the COVID-19 Vaccine are all not true,” says Jutala Baba, a 67-year-old woman at ABUKO in the Kanifing Municipality, who took the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Batch 209C21A.
She added that the covid19 vaccine is very normal while calling on the general public to also take the vaccine to stay safe.
The 67-Year-old further said that taking the vaccine doesn’t mean you are free from COVID-19, adding that the COVID-19 Vaccine plays a critical role in preventing deaths and hospitalisation caused by infection.
She added that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people also need to be aware of the additional protective behaviours required to control the pandemic locally.
COVID-19 outbreak has become the worst pandemic in at least a century. To fight this disease, a global effort led to the development of several vaccines at an unprecedented rate.
There have been, however, several logistic issues with its deployment, from their production and transport, to the hesitancy of the population to be vaccinated.
According to research, COVID-19 vaccines can offer added protection to people who had COVID-19, including protection against being hospitalized from a new infection. As with vaccines for other diseases, people are protected best when they stay up to date with the recommended number of doses and boosters.
The AstraZeneca vaccines was first administered to front-line health care workers, people with underlying health conditions and those aged 65 and above.
“To me the COVID-19 Vaccine is very normal considering the fact that I am 67 year old. And the moment I took the vaccine I feel very normal and safe but I feel some headache other pains which is very normal sometimes,” she said.
She added: “to fight the COVID-19 disease then everyone should be ready to get the vaccine and work together to win the disease,” she said
Omar Sonko, a 21 year old young man at Kotu, who also took the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Batch Number 209C21A said the vaccine is very good because it’s boost the immune system of the body.
“Since I took the vaccine one year ago. I am really doing well and I didn’t see any negative impact of the vaccine after taken it” he said
Omar added that he believes that the hesitancy of the vaccine is cause by the misinformation from the social media.
“I don’t the government will want to kill her citizens or to sew them dying by giving them wrong or vaccine that are not good” he said
He said for everyone to be safe then everyone should be ready to take the vaccine while calling on the government to sensitize the general public on the importance of the vaccine.
‘‘To get the vaccine is very important and it will also contribute to control the spread of the disease, thus their impact on infection and serious illness is significant. And in order to increase the willingness of the population to get vaccinated, the government should embark on a massive sensitization. And I believe no one is safe until everyone is made safe by vaccination’’ he said.
For different reasons, an important amount of individuals is reluctant to get the vaccine, something that hinders the ability to control and eventually eradicate the disease.
Little is known about why individuals refuse the COVID-19 vaccination. The aim of this research on covid19 vaccine hesitancy and its impact on other diseases has also given reasons why some individuals refuse to take the vaccine
According to UNICEF on the covid-19 vaccine hesitancy survey report 2021
The report also reveals that unvaccinated respondents believe that the vaccines were developed too quickly, are uncertain about what is in them and it is simply their choice not to take them.
“The arrival of this of vaccines is a great opportunity to boost The Gambia’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage towards achieving the target of 70 per cent vaccination coverage,” said Dr Desta Alamerew Tiruneh, World Health Organization Representative to The Gambia.
Molamin, a 18 year old boy said he totally against the covid19 vaccine because of reasons adding that he doesn’t think it is right for him to be vaccinated.
“I don’t think is even safe for me to take the COVID-19 Vaccine. We are talking about COVID-19 but we have almost more than 5 types of COVID-19 vaccines from different countries. So which one should I take or which one is even safe for me. I don’t know! But the best thing for me is just to avoid the vaccine” he said
Edrisa Jallow, 22 year old at Kunkujang, said there are many rational behind of me not taking the Covid-19 vaccination. Among the reasons why he didn’t take the vaccine is that ‘‘I do hear that immediately after you take the vaccine your body will be weak for at least 3 days most specifically your hand’’ he said.
He added that ‘‘so for me, I don’t want to take the vaccine because I don’t want my body to become weak and be home for 3 days as it will affect my schooling and my work.
‘‘Secondly, I don’t trust the vaccine because I have seen people who have taken it and later died which is so unfortunate’’ he said.
The President of The Gambia, His Excellency Adama Barrow launched the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign in March 2021 and took the first dose of the vaccine at State House on Wednesday 10th March.
The launch came less than 10 days after the first shipment of 36,000 COVID-19 vaccines were delivered to The Gambia by UNICEF on behalf of the COVAX Facility.
“This is the final solution”, the President said as he took the first shot at State House
“It’s remarkable; I feel so happy,” Mary Bobb, the public health official who administered the first jab to the President and Vice President said shortly afterwards. “This is a great relief for all of us.”
Minister of Health Dr Ahmadou Lamin Samateh. “I must reiterate that the Government of The Gambia only accepts vaccines that are safe and effective, and these vaccines have passed the test.”
Dr. Samateh urged all people living in the Gambia and have not yet received their vaccination to come out and be vaccinated, reiterating that the vaccines are safe and will potentially save lives of families.
According to the Health Minister, the vaccines will significantly boost the country’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts to protect more people from COVID-19 infection, severe illness, hospitalization and death.
Photo from UNICEF GAMBIA Facebook Page
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 Communication and The Daily News.