By Binta S. Jawo
The Ministry of Health (MoH) informed members of the press that they will start a nationwide vaccination campaign including children from the ages of 12 and above from the 9th to the 15th of May 2022. During a press conference held on Friday 6th, May 2022 the MoH’s Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) noted that they are targeting to vaccinate at least 60% of the population.
During his welcoming remarks, The Director of Health Promotion and Education at the Ministry of Health, Mr Modou Njai urged all stakeholders to play their part to ensure a successful campaign. Director Njai encouraged parents and caregivers to bring their children to benefit from the lifesaving vaccines at no cost.
Mr Njai appealed to the general public for people to stop spreading false and misleading information concerning the vaccine.
The Program Manager at the EPI, Mr Sidat Fofana said their target is to vaccinate 60% of the population which includes vaccines for children because they are potential carriers of the virus. “Along the way, there were a lot of false rumours and that is clear to everybody now this vaccine doesn’t kill and it doesn’t prevent any woman from getting pregnant” he stressed.
Mr Fofana thanked their partners such as the World Bank, the American Government, UNICEF and WHO for supporting the Gambia’s fight against the Covid 19 Pandemic.
Communication Officer at the EPI, Aja Kandeh says there are three different vaccines for different age groups ranging from 12 years and above. “The aim of this vaccination [campaign] in general is to reduce mobility and mortality through vaccines” she reiterated.
Ms Kandeh added that the vaccination teams will be available in all health care centres across the country, markets, mosques, churches, schools, community centres such as Bantabas, border and ferry crossing points. She revealed that the vaccination against Covid-19 will continue even after the campaign.
The Communication Officer highlighted that vaccine hesitancy is one of the major challenges they are faced with but they are working very hard to counter it because the vaccine is safe and effective.
Vaccinations for health care workers, those with underlined health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, community workers like extension workers, hoteliers, teachers, and security forces are given a priority.