Gambians Prefer J&J COVID-19 Vaccines to Others

ORLANDO, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - 2021/04/10: Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vial and box seen at a vaccination site. Doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are being administered throughout the state of Florida despite a small number of patients who have experienced adverse reactions, including blood clots. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

By Nelson Manneh

Gambians who are vaccinated against COVID-19 and those anticipating to be vaccinated against the deadly diseases said they prefer to be vaccinated with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

This reporter over the weekend made a vox-pop to enquire as to why most people are taking the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccination, and many people who spoke to this medium, said they prefer the Johnson and Johnson vaccine because you only need to take it once.

The Ministry of Health targeted to vaccinate at least 20% of the population but only 14.7% of the target is vaccinated as of 14 December, 2021. The health authorities also confirm to this medium that the demand for the J&J vaccine is more than any other vaccine.

Mariama Drammeh, a teacher who has received only one dose of the Sinopharm vaccine, said she preferred the Johnson and Johnson vaccine because it is administered once.

“I was vaccinated with one dose of the Sinopharm but still now I have not yet received the second dose,” she stated.

Madam Drammeh said if all the vaccines were like J&J, many people would have taken the vaccines because it is administered only once whilst others require more.

“The approach used by the health authorities should also be looked at because many people don’t understand the reason why they should be vaccinated twice for a single disease,” she said.

Malang Dampha, a driver who has not taken the vaccine, said he is not yet prepared to be vaccinated but if the need arises he will prefer to be vaccinated with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

“I am not yet convinced that COVID-19 exists in the Gambia because during the political activities, all the presidential candidates were moving around the country without wearing face masks and none of them have tested positive for COVID-19,” he said.

Mr. Dampha said during the campaign period the cases were so low that there were days when no new cases were recorded.

“I am surprised just after the presidential election, cases start to increase,” he recollected.

Many people, who spoke to this reporter claimed that they prefer to be vaccinated with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine rather than taking any other vaccine.

Similarly, scores of people who were already vaccinated with the Sinopharm vaccine, also said that they preferred to be vaccinated with the J and J vaccine to the Sinopharm vaccines.

Musu Cham, a vendor, who was vaccinated with Johnson and Johnson vaccine and later tested positive for COVID, said when he tested positive he was not hospitalized because the virus could not do much in his body.

“I think the vaccines cannot prevent anybody from getting the virus but it can assist your immune system whenever you get infected with the virus,” she said.

This COVID-19 survivor said the experience he had when he tested positive was not serious because he was vaccinated.

“I heard many stories before I got vaccinated against the virus. I was told that if I take the vaccines that will be the end of my life because I will not be able to have children anymore,” he added.

This COVID-19 survivor debunks such claims, saying the vaccine has nothing to do with that. He said the vaccines are like all other vaccines that were administered in the Gambia centuries ago.