Friday, March 24

Gambia: How Covid-19 vaccine contributes to the immunization of the most vulnerable

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By: Nyima Sillah

Covid-19 vaccine has immensely contributed to the immunization of the most vulnerable which includes pregnant women, children and the elderly.

Gibril Gando Baldeh, a senior health communications officer at the Ministry of Health highlighted the importance of the Covid-19 vaccine on children, pregnant women, and elderly persons, saying that the Covid-19 vaccine is a preventative medicine that is meant to ensure that these children, pregnant women, and elderly persons are protected from the pandemic.

However, the health official said that there has been increased coverage of the number of people who are vaccinated and this applies to an increase in the number of people who are protected and prevented from the pandemic.

‘’There is a link between children, pregnant women, and the elderly when it comes to the Covid-19 transmission and disease. First of all, children are very energetic and they go about a lot, so getting children vaccinated will go a long way. It will not only prevent kids from the disease or from the virus but also will prevent them from hospitalization.

For pregnant mothers, it is very important since they are vulnerable it is important for them to receive the Covid-19 vaccine to avoid any complications due to the pandemic as we all know pregnant women have low immunity due to their pregnancy, so getting the vaccine will improve their immunity and will improve their health status especially when it regards to Covid-19,” he said.

‘’Finally, the elderly, are the most vulnerable when it comes to Covid-19 vaccination. The vaccination first targeted the elders because they mostly with low immunity and most of them are confronted with diabetes, hypertension, asthma, etc, these are the co-mobility which increase the risk of getting Covid-19 and also increased their chances of hospitalization,’’ he added.

He confirmed that injecting children with the vaccine is not only going to improve their immunity but prevent them from Covid-19 or severe symptoms of Covid-19 but it also goes a long way by cutting down the chain of transmission which is very key.

He added that children are very active they can spread the virus to their parents and grandparents who will be at disadvantage due to their low immunity or due to the fact that they are having co-mobility diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and others that they are confronted with, so if the kids are not vaccinated the chances of transmission of diabetes and others will be high.

‘’Considering the vulnerability of the pregnant women, children, and elderly, the Ministry of Health is appealing to the general public, especially to parents to ensure that since they are vaccinated to complete the cycle of prevention, they have to try and get their kids to be vaccinated.

It is very important for elders to get boosted. Not only receiving one shoot but it is important for elders to get a second dose or third dose which we refer to as boosters’ dose so that it will increase their immune system and prevent them from having a severe form of the disease,’’ he revealed.

According to him, The Gambia started using the Covid-19 vaccine in 2021 March/ April until 2022, they reached all the vaccines that they were using for Covid-19, and they have people who are above the age of 18 and now since the arrival of the new Covid-19 vaccine which is Pfizer, they have been cleared by WHO to be used on children of 12 years and above.

Aminata Sambou, a pregnant woman said she took the Covid-19 J&J vaccination during her two months of pregnancy, adding that it happened at a time when pregnant women are more vulnerable to miscarriages.

She added that as she took the courage for the jab vaccination, she said nothing has happened to her except a common side effect that almost everyone that took the vaccine experienced which is a little bit of headache.

Aboubacarr Saidykan, a 67year old man also revealed that he took the jab vaccine since the introduction of the AstraZeneca which has boosted his immune system. ‘’The vaccine also showed a reduction in many of my severe illnesses. I felt some side effects on the first day but aside from that, I am fine and my health status is normal,’’ he confirmed.

Furthermore, a mother of a 13-year-old child also explained the importance of the vaccine on his child and how it protected their old mother who is staying with them. ‘’I never hesitated for my child to get vaccinated, because I am 7 months pregnant and her grandmother is 69 years, so the risk of not getting vaccinated was high but now we all in good health,’’ she confirmed.