As uncertainty looms
The AstraZeneca vaccines brought into the country in April are expected to expire this Saturday, July 10, leaving Liberians with uncertainty when a fresh consignment of COVID-19 jabs would arrive, as daily cases of the delta variant rise in the country.
Liberia received 96,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines in April, and out of this number, over 90,000 doses have been administered to the public in the first round, according to Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Minister of Health, Doctor Francis Kateh who spoke on OK FM recently.
Anxious citizens reporting at the Ministry of Health daily for vaccination are being told to exercise patience, while modalities are being worked out to have more vaccines into the country, but no specific date set for arrival.
The current health crisis in Liberia is increasingly becoming bleak, as statistics from the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) as of Tuesday, July 6, 2021 put total confirmed cases of the virus at 4,994 with 135 deaths.
Montserrado County that hosts the nation’s capital has recorded 4,071 confirmed cases, followed by Margibi County, 226 cases; Nimba County, 108 cases; Bong County, 106 cases; Grand Bassa County, 91 cases; Lofa County, 88 cases, and Bomi County, 63 cases, among others.
Liberians have been pouring at the Ministry of Health and hospitals across Monrovia to get vaccinated in the wake of resurgence of the virus, specially the Delta variant, a new strain that is more dangerous than the earlier outbreak.
However, Dr. Kateh said government is working with partners, including UNICEF and WHO to have additional supplies in the country.
He added that lifespan of the AstraZeneca vaccines in the country expire on July 10th, but those who have taken the first dose maintain a potency of 8 to 12 weeks.
President George Weah recently 56,000 rapid antigenic tests and 4OSIRIS3 Transport Respirators donated by the Government of France to help in the Covid-19 fight.
“I want to thank the government and people of France for this wonderful donation which comes on the back of my meeting with my friend and brother, President Macron. Let me also emphasize that I take Liberia-France relationship very seriously,” the Executive Mansion quotes President Weah as saying.
The Ambassador of France to Liberia formally presented the consignment to President Weah on Saturday, July 3, 2021 upon the President’s arrival from Paris, France where he attended the Generation Equality Forum along with other world leaders. Story by Jonathan Browne