By: Thaimu Bai Sesay (FBC Intern)
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation on Wednesday 21st December 2022 in a press briefing updated members of the media and representatives of its various donors that the ministry and the country as a whole have succeeded in vaccinating 71.20% of its target population.
Updating attendance in the press briefing, Desmond Maada Kangbai, Manager of Child Health Expanded Program on Immunization said they started the COVID-19 vaccination process on March 2021 immediately after its launching. He disclosed that since then they had been working relentlessly just to achieve the 70 per cent signed by the Health Minister. He statistically stated the outstanding phases the ministry developed in achieving this laudable milestone.
He further explained that to achieve 70 per cent and above they had also been doing intensive mobilization, evolving strong partners across the country and also politicians like Ministers, Members of Parliament, and even Counselors who contributed significantly to the vaccination process.
Projecting pictures of how the vaccination process was going on, he said they have given more vaccines to the age group 18 to 59, adding that they have also recently experienced an increase in the age 60 and above. He expressed hope that as it is part of their target, they would also have to reach the elderly and school pupils
Commending the ministry and the Government at large, the Representative of the World Health Organization expressed that Sierra Leone has joined the growing list of countries in the region that have attained the target of COVID-19 vaccination by the end of December. He intimated that Sierra Leone is the fourth country in the region to achieve this great milestone.
WHO Representative acknowledged the tremendous effort of the other partners in the fight against COVID-19, nothing that could not have been achieved without their participation and sacrifices
United States CDC representative on behalf of the US CDC and the US Government also congratulated the ministry and the government of Sierra Leone. She expressed that the US CDC is very proud and very pleased to be able to witness this wonderful accomplishment. She anticipated further collaborate with other organizations to reach the same goal.
Dr Sartie Kanneh, Chief Medical Officer intimated that the COVID-19 vaccination process is going to continue despite achieving 70 per cent and above. He disclosed that he was among the first batch to take the vaccine and he would like to take another as COVID-19 is not entirely over.
Dr Kanneh elucidated the strategic pillars used in achieving this great landmark and how they helped tackle the spread of COVID-19 in the country. He reaffirmed that it is what makes the fight against COVID-19 uniquely different from that of Ebola.
He congratulated their global partners including UNICEF, WHO, CARE and many others who made the COVID-19 vaccination available in the country. He continued to encourage the general public, especially those who have not taken the vaccine to do so adding that it is absolutely safe and has no side effects.