Tuesday, December 6

Midwives confirm taking vaccines as a measure to avoid Covid-19

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By Binta Jaiteh

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a global crisis, with midwives confirming that they got vaccinated as a drastic measure to avoid contracting the Covid-19 virus.

Rama Camara, a midwife at Fajikunda Hospital said “I took the Covid-19 vaccine to protect myself from the virus. I did not encounter any side effects after taking it.”

The vaccines are safe and pre-qualified by WHO which means they are safe and good to be taken. Sensitization has been strengthened and people’s perception of vaccines is changing a lot. The Ministry of Health is doing a lot of sensitization to make sure people are vaccinated. The low uptake has nothing to do with the Ministry of Health but with people’s attitudes. “I took the Fazer vaccine,” she added.

She advised everyone to take the vaccine to build up their immunity systems and ensure all Gambians are protected.

Majula T. Kinteh, another midwife said many people died due to the virus even though some did not believe in its existence. She noted that as healthcare workers they have seen the evidence.

“Seeing the impact and damage the virus caused motivated me to take the vaccine. My close family members and relatives contracted the virus and some passed away,” she explained.

According to her, prevention is better than cure. She pointed out that the vaccines reduce the impact that the virus can cause on one’s body. “If you are vaccinated and contract the virus the symptoms will be different from someone who did not take the vaccine and contract the virus,” she also explained.

She said she took the Johnson and Johnson which is just one shot. She observed that some people do not believe in Covid-19 because its signs and symptoms are similar to the common cold.

She went on to say that the vaccines went through several trials before being approved and are therefore safe and should be taken by all.

However, she said as midwives interact with many people they have seen pregnant women suffering from Covid-19 and as such one should protect them or themselves. “Take the vaccines to be safe, protect yourself, your family, and your relatives,” she advised the population.

She noted that as the midwife ratio in the country is small it is important they protect themselves from the virus before crippling the health system.

Juana Mbaye, also a midwife said she has confidence in the vaccines because she was infected with the virus and did not hesitate to get vaccinated.

She added that taking the vaccines minimises the risk of contracting the virus.

“Many people had the misconception that the white men wanted to reduce the African population and also cause infertility among women. Therefore they hesitated to get vaccinated. Information should be accurate because such information can discourage people from taking the vaccine,” she said.

Gibriel Gando Baldeh, Senior Health Communication Officer at the Ministry of Health’s Directorate of Health Promotion and Education highlighted that the misconceptions surrounding the vaccines caused the hesitancy.

He said rumors that the vaccines causing infertility are meant to reduce the African population do not make sense.

He explained that The Gambia was issuing 13 vaccines in the country before the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccine which made it fourteen.

“There are 13 diseases that the Ministry is fighting in The Gambia by using vaccines and they include Polio, Hepatitis, Measles, and Yellow Fever, among others,” he explained.

He said since they started the vaccination process, they have not received any severe reaction following the vaccination of 625,414 (six hundred and twenty-five thousand four hundred and fourteen) people who have already taken the jab.

As a Ministry, we are planning a lot of strategies to encourage people to be vaccinated and among the strategies is continuous awareness creation on different social platforms and community outreaches.

“The vaccines have been tested numerous times and qualified for human use. People who are against vaccination use the infertility card to discourage others who have the potential to receive the vaccines. We assure everyone that the vaccines are safe and encourage them to take them,” he assured everyone.

This story was produced with support from Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), through its Mobilizing Media in the Fight Against COVID-19 in partnership with Kaba Communication and The Voice.