The United States Ambassador to Liberia, Michael A. McCarthy, accompanied by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director, Jim Wright, joined Health Minister Dr. Wilhemina Jallah and Education Minister Ansu D. Sonii to launch the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for students.
The launch, which took place at the William V. S. Tubman High School in Sinkor, Monrovia, along with other government officials, is intended to get the 320,580 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine recently donated to Liberia by the United States government into the arms of Liberian students, a release from the embassy said.
According to the embassy, to date, more than 1,000,000 Liberians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while the rest of the eligible population still have not been vaccinated.
The embassy noted that as of December 30, 2021, the United States has donated 954,180 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Liberia. This includes 633,600 doses of the J&J vaccine plus 320,580 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to help combat the pandemic.
Through USAID, the U.S. Government has provided more than $25 million in direct COVID-19 relief to Liberia. This includes $2.5 million recently announced to help vaccinate the people of Liberia quickly and safely.
"Our assistance to Liberia goes beyond donating vaccines," Ambassador McCarthy said, adding that the embassy has trained more than 3,000 health workers in 365 primary health care facilities to give vaccines to Liberians.
"And we have worked with our Liberian partners to train more than 200 community, health assistants and volunteers to educate the Liberian public about COVID-19 and how it can be prevented,” he added.
Dr. Jallah said the school-based campaign is an important boost for COVID-19 vaccination in Liberia. She however encouraged students at William V.S. Tubman High School to receive the jab and serve as vaccine ambassadors that will encourage their peers to get vaccinated.
According to her, the school-based vaccine outreach services target students age 12 years and above, which will also benefit children who are not in school now but fall within that age category.
Also, teachers and staff at Tubman High joined the students in taking the vaccine, with Principal Tamba Reeves leading the way and being the first to get the jab.
Education Minister Sonii and USAID Mission Director Wright re-emphasized that the vaccines are safe and an effective way of helping to curb the spread of COVID-19.