By: Kebba AF Touray
Some Gambians who have taken their COVID-19 vaccine have challenged their Gambian compatriots to take the COVID-19 jab.
They argued that vaccination is crucial and assures high protection and strengthens one’s immunity against the COVID-19 virus.
They made this challenge during interviews on how effective and important the COVID-19 Vaccines are.
Mariama Dumbuya, a differently abled youth, lamented to this reporter that during the pandemic, he and his colleagues underwent a toughest time, saying they were not allowed to go out especially during the lockdown period.
She added that this has not only infringed on their right to free movement, but also hampered their income generation for survival, stating that they go out to the streets and beg for alms, which was not possible during the lockdown.
“COVID-19 has taught the world a unique, better and terrible experience, such as staying indoors and surviving through the curfew period, which were all measures utilized by the authorities globally to avert the further spread of the pandemic,” she told this reporter.
She said that people have been exposed to personal protective measures such as wearing of face masks, the use of hand sanitizers and the use of virtual meetings, which has proven the significance of technology.
“In view of the above challenges that the pandemic has inflicted on us, I decided to go for vaccination. Though I am yet to take my second vaccine I feel that vaccination is integral when it comes to fighting against COVID-19,” she said.
She also asked those who are yet to take their vaccine to do so, stressing that with the vaccine, one is assured of high immunity and protection against the COVID-19 virus.
One Ida Nget also told this reporter that she was skeptical and pessimistic about the COVID-19 vaccine, but after taking her first dose she is motivated and inspired to go for her second dose, which she did three months ago.
“I want to sincerely urge my fellow Gambians to go and get their COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines are safe and effective in the fight against the virus,” she said.
Hon. Amadou Camara, Member for Nianija Constituency, called on Gambians to still comply with COVID-19 health guidelines, adding that the pandemic is still in the country.
“COVID-19 is real and is still here. There are still some spot cases. Let us be vigilant. I know that some people are vaccinated, but if you have symptoms, you rush to the nearest health facility for a test,” he urged Gambians.
Hon. Camara, who also doubles as the Chairperson of the Legislative Select Committee on Health, reiterated the need for the public to be observant and take all the necessary precautions and guidelines as and when necessary.
“We still have some vaccines available. Let us all get fully vaccinated. Once we are all fully vaccinated the issue of COVID-19 will soon become history,” Hon. Camara urged the public.
He also lamented that all the COVID-19 casualties, in terms of death, cases, lack of materials and other unfortunate things that happened with regard to the pandemic could have been averted if the country was well prepared.
“We have to develop clear and precise plans on how to respond to outbreaks such as COVID-19 pandemic. The country began planning at a time when the pandemic hit the country. Plans should always be afoot and ready and resources mobilized for the implementation of such response plans in times of outbreaks,” he said.
Mr. Modou Njai, the Director of Health Promotion and Education at the Ministry of Health, told this reporter that they have set up a communication and social mobilization committee which is coordinated by the directorate.
“In the committee, we have also included the women mobilizers and one of them is really helping us to engage women groups within and beyond KMC in the capacity as a liaison officer between us and the organized women groups, which responsibility we bestowed on her,” he said.
Photo: Mr. Njai
He said when they have their intervention, they have traditional communicators, composed mainly of women, to send their information across as well as empower the communicators with information and knowledge which they utilize to sensitize the communities.
“This aims to encourage people to take COVID-19 vaccine. It is also to dispel rumors and misconception regarding COVID-19 vaccine, as well as to create awareness on the significance of the vaccine,” he said.
He said they also dispatched a team to meet the differently abled persons to sensitize the differently abled persons on the vaccine and encourage them to take the vaccine.
“We want to make sure that our services are equitably distributed and that each and every one has access to health services, especially to the COVID-19 vaccine,” Njie said.