COVID-19 Vaccines Message From Mr. Adolphus Clarke Program Manager, Expanded Programme on Immunization, MOH

April 8, 2021—As a public health response strategy, the Ministry of Health (MOH) wrote for both ethical and regulatory approvals through the National Research Ethics Board of Liberia (NREB) and the Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (LMHRA) based on an official request by the Ministry of Health (MoH). They make sure that individual who agree to take the vaccine are protected from the harmful effects of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19).  If you wish to find about more about the vaccination exercise in Liberia, please call Adolphus Trokon Clarke, Director, Expanded Programme on Immunization on +231777024582 / +231886560846

Introduction

We are vaccinators and health workers, working with the Ministry of Health.

We are inviting you to take part in this vaccination response. We had a meeting with community leaders and members and told them about this vaccination exercise. You do not have to decide today about taking part. You can talk about it first with your friends, family, elders or the vaccination team before reaching your decision.

If you are pregnant and decide to be vaccinated, please consult with your physician.  If you do not wish to take part, even if your physician agrees, we will not vaccinate you. You can agree to receive the vaccine by signing your name or providing a thumbprint on the consent/assent form. We ask for your agreement but will also ask for the agreement of your physician.

Additionally, if you are above 18 years and decided to receive the vaccine, please consult with your parent or guardian.  If you do not wish to take part, even if your parent agrees, we will not vaccinate you. You can agree to receive the vaccine by signing your name or providing a thumbprint on the consent/assent form. We ask for your agreement but will also ask for the agreement of your parent or guardian before you can take part.

To help you to decide, first we will explain what is involved. Please ask if you do not understand. If you have questions later, you can also contact us.

What is Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19)?

COVID-19 is the disease caused by a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.  WHO first learned of this new virus on 31 December 2019, following a report of a cluster of cases of ‘viral pneumonia’ in Wuhan, People’s Republic of China. The COVID-19 is the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. This is severe disease caused by a small organism which is not visible, called a virus. The community has likely already discussed this with you.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19)?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue

Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include:

  • Loss of taste or smell,
  • Nasal congestion,
  • Conjunctivitis (also known as red eyes)
  • Sore throat,
  • Headache,
  • Muscle or joint pain,
  • Different types of skin rash,
  • Nausea or vomiting,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Chills or dizziness.

Symptoms of severe COVID‐19 disease include:

  • Shortness of breath,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Confusion,
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest,
  • High temperature (above 38 °C).

Other less common symptoms are:

  • Irritability,
  • Confusion,
  • Reduced consciousness (sometimes associated with seizures),
  • Anxiety,
  • Depression,
  • Sleep disorders,
  • More severe and rare neurological complications such as strokes, brain inflammation, delirium and nerve damage.

People of all ages who experience fever and/or cough associated with difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, or loss of speech or movement should seek medical care immediately. If possible, call your health care provider, hotline or health facility first, so you can be directed to the right clinic.

What is the purpose of this vaccine? Many cases of coronavirus (covid-19) have been confirmed in Liberia. You have been approached for vaccine because of the risk of contracting the disease, your residence, work, or other possible contacts with a confirmed case. This public health response uses four delivery strategies (Fixed, Temporary, Outreach and Mobile) to vaccinate segment of the population in the following categories:

  • Healthcare workers
  • Elderly (60+)
  • People with underlining health conditions
  • Others (i.e., people would cannot physically or socially distance given the work or tasks being performed

The vaccine was tested in more than 10 000 persons in several countries in Europe, Africa and the United States and was found to be safe for use. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the vaccine is safe and that its benefits outweigh the risk.

What is the procedure for receiving vaccine? A qualified vaccinator/health worker will speak with you to see if you meet the conditions to be vaccinated. Before the vaccination process, a psychosocial counsellor will explain to you the important benefits associated with the vaccine and its side effects.

At the vaccination visit, a clean needle and syringe will be used to give one dose of a vaccine into the upper part of your arm. After vaccination, we will observe you for 30 minutes for any problems.

If you feel sick after the vaccination, please call the hotline number 4455 or you can call this number (0777024582) we will provide you for an on-call doctor available 24 hours.

Because we are not completely sure that the vaccine will protect you from Ebola it is very important that you try to stay away from being infected with Ebola. So, do not do the following things: touching body fluids (blood, vomit, saliva, urine and faeces), stay in direct physical contact with bodies of patients (dead or alive), touch the bedsheets, cloth, clothes, meal plates, or share bed and/or dishes of a sick person.

Can I choose not to take the vaccine? Yes. The choice is yours.  Whether you choose to say “yes” or “no” is up to you and your rights will be respected. 

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine? No, you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

The vaccine is against COVID-19 and cannot cause COVID-19. However, some people that get the vaccine might already have been infected with COVID-19. They might develop signs of COVID-19 after they have been given the anti-COVID-19 vaccine.  For them the vaccine did not give protection.

What happen to people who get COVID-19?

Among those who develop symptoms, most (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing hospital treatment. About 15% become seriously ill and require oxygen and 5% become critically ill and need intensive care.

Complications leading to death may include respiratory failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), sepsis and septic shock, thromboembolism, and/or multiorgan failure, including injury of the heart, liver or kidneys.

In rare situations, children can develop a severe inflammatory syndrome a few weeks after infection.

How many people will be given this vaccine?

We currently hoping to vaccinate in phases about 52% of our total population so that we can achieve herd immunity. We will aim to vaccinate those persons to help prevent COVID-19, and then we will also aim to vaccinate everyone in the target group, to prevent further spread of the disease in addition to the current IPC measures. Anyone 18 years and above can be considered for vaccination.

What are the possible side effects of the vaccine? Receiving the injection might hurt a little. You will feel a pinch with the needle. It can make your arm to have slight muscle aches. It might also make you feel pain at the injection site, give you a little fever (mild high temperature of about 37.8⁰C), swelling, or bruising at the injection site. This should not last too long. You may have redness or bruising where you got the shot for a few days, and there is a very small chance of infection at that spot. You might not feel any of these things. Since this is still an investigational vaccine it may cause other changes that may hurt or bother you that we do not know about.

People can have allergic reactions to vaccines, including hives, trouble breathing, or other allergic responses. This is very rare, but is also a possible effect of these vaccines. There may be other side effects that may be severe or life threatening.

If you have a fever, doctors can test to see if you have COVID-19 or something else, and give you treatment if needed. If you get a fever after receiving vaccine, you should immediately contact the contact tracing and/or the telephone numbers provided.

105 Persons Regain Sights in Tappita

(March 15, 2021, Tappita City, Nimba)—The Liberian government through the Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with New Sight Eye Center on March 13, 2021 concluded a free rural surgical Cataracts outreach at the Jackson F. Doe Regional Referral Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County.

The Project is the first of four outreaches in rural Liberia, and it is fully funded by Samaritan Purse while New Sight Eye Canter is serving as implementing partner.

A surgical team comprising four Liberian Surgeons headed by Liberia’s National Eye Health Program Manager Dr. Joseph L. Kerkula of Ministry of Health was dispatched from Monrovia March 1, 2021 for the twelve-day project.

The arrival of the team in Tappita at the Jackson F. Doe Regional Referral Hospital coincided with the visitation meeting with Dr. Benjamin Harris, President of the Liberia College of physician and Grant Manager of Lion Club Foundation.

During the brief meeting Dr. Joseph L. Kerkula used the occasion to thank both Samaritan Purse and the New Sight Eye Canter for their tremendous supports to the Liberia’s Health sector, noting that the project will serve as monument for the citizens in the region.

For his part, Dr. John Tamba, Acting Executive Chief Office of the Jackson F. Doe Regional Referral Hospital, lauded the efforts of SP and NSEC for the preferred of Jackson F. Doe Regional Referral Hospital in Tappita.

Dr. Joseph stated that move will serve as luminary scars on the minds and faces of the entire Nimba County.

The meeting which is considered to be an iconic and must celebrated beginning of Eye-surgery in the region, was attended by New Sight Eye Canter’s program Manager Madam N’Chung M. Eben and Madam Yassa Darwolo among others of Samaritan Purse.

However, Henry Wongbeh, a 63-year old man narrated that he got blind as the result of working extensively on his Cocoa farm in Yorpea Nimba mid of 2016.

He stated that his condition of blindness worsened weeks later after the incident occurred.

According to him, he believed he was made blind by some witch in the area because of his Cocoa plantation.

The 63 years old father of 8, grandpa of 6, noted that after the unfortunate incident begins using traditional medicines and in order to curb the situation.  

Mr.Wongbeh said due to his condition he abandoned all his farming activities and begins sitting home all along in the village when everyone else goes on the farm for 5-years.

Henry pointed out that his children consistent stealing of his Cocoa and his anxiousness to continue serving God prompted him to have gone for the surgery upon hearing the news on air.

‘’Getting my eyeball back my son is the wonder of God, ’’ Mr. Wongbeh said Liberian English.

He praised the project team and rained blessings on them for the sacrifices made by extending the outreach service to Nimba.

Bill Gbormia-25 years old: “Cataract is not prominent among young people meanly in their 20s. But Bill Gbormia’s case is extraordinarily mind-boggling.”

 Bill told the project’s media team that, the week of his unfortunate loss of his both parents in a tragic accident turned out to be the same week he lost his both sights to particles of cement bags he was lifting in late 2015.

Bill said during the time of his illness, his 3 siblings including 16 half brothers and sisters totalling 19 abandoned, neglected and outcaste him except for his senior brother he currently stays with.

Gbormia who comes from one of Liberia’s tribal groups Geo in Tappita, Nimba County, narrated that the painful condition and peer-bullied pushed him several times to attempt committing suicide.

He said taking his life would have been the best solution to his problem, but each time he attempted doing so God would intervened by speaking to him to stop.

The bilateral-cataract man Gbormia’s facial appearance, with his overgrown finger and toe nails, and recent rough hair and bear shaved, coupled with mushroom mole covering his teeth showed that Bill was actually living in total captivity and neglect.

25 years old Bill described the coming of the surgical team to Nimba as a miracle he has long awaited fasted and praised for.

Bill named his inability to identified colours, light, walk in and out of bed, even the food he used to eat among others as things he really wish he had eyes to see.

’I never use to see anything with my two eyes in the town (the village), people use to laugh at me, I was looking like fun box, the mean thing da used to make me cry is no woman wanted me’’. Bill told me in Liberian colloquial with an exciting smile on his face as we walked in the corridor of the hospital.

Gbormia asserted further that regaining his both sights is a lifelong joy and authentication of God’s existence and vowed to dedicate his life to the work of God.

’I going home to serve God find one fine girl, so I can start to born my children and make my farm’’ The 25 years said to me as we parted company during his discharge from the Hospital when his both eyes were restored .

Love Leeway-26 yrs old: “Born and raised in Butuo Nimba County May 8, 1995 is Love Leeway who had bilateral-cataract for 10-years.”

Love said she woke up one morning and noticed her both eyes began to itch and tears begin rolling down her cheeks, that’s when she noticed her eyes wouldn’t see no more.

Leeway said the incident occurred in Tappita where she had gone to stay with her mother’s friend, because her father died and her single mother couldn’t carter to the rest of all 7 siblings.

After the incident Love said her mother’s friend retuned her (Love) to her mom because her condition was worsening.

I was in 4th grade, I have to drop from school because when I go to school anything the teachers them write on the blackboard I can’t see one’’. Love said in broken-Liberian English.

Love informed me that she has given birth 3-times and 2 of her children passed away and one is currently alive.

The 26 years old girl with tears rolling down her eyes and a faint light seems not to be penetrating her eye lenses narrated that, that two of the children’s father broke up with her and abandoned her along with one of the children, on the instruction of his mother due to her unbearable condition.

‘’His ma say he mum leave me, because I blind, I can’t  see and her son have to go Monrovia and go to school than to be behind  blind girl like me’’. Her voice began to hallo as she struggled expressing her pains in plain English for my understanding.

When asked how she was impregnated 3-times in roll, the 26-years woman said, due to her blindness men in the village took advantage of her situation and several times had unwanted sex withher when everyone had gone on the farm.

Something she said led to her loss of her virginity and her gettingpregnant several times.

’I used to cry every day, I used to be thinking that my life finish na and I have no reason to live’’. Love shackled as I managed to quench my petty for her (Love) by flipping the pages of my notebook.

she intoned that she never believed God ever existed but, regaining her 10-years of lost sights to bilateral cataracts shows that there exists a God that cares, and using Samaritan Purse to show his infinite love that has for people.

‘’The way I can see now, I going to serve God and go back to school.’’ Love said further as I concluded my interview with her after her multiple eye surgeries the next day. 

She used the medium to eulogized Samaritan Purse, New Sight Eye Center and the team of Liberian surgeons for their great and Monumental work and giving her back dignity and proud amongst people.

In conclusion, the project previously targeted ninety Cataracts surgeries but due to the team’s hard work and relentless commitment to the job, was able to performed 105 surgeries out of 1800 persons who were screened and pre-screened from March 2-13, 2021.

Signed: ________________________________

           Felecia Gbesioh

           Director of Communications, MOH, R.L.

GoL, Partners Launch Nationwide Typhoid Vaccination Campaign

(Monrovia, Liberia, April 6, 2021)—Liberia’s government quest to ensuring the provision of quality health services to its citizens is something that continue to water across the nation as stakeholders simultaneously and intermittently engage the health with seriousness.

This endeavor and other strategic engagements in the sector are aimed at seeing Liberia reached Universal health benchmark set by the World Health Organization (WHO), which Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah and team at the Ministry of Health inclusive of partners are doing everything positively possible to meet such Global health goal and standard.

In supra, the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health in collaboration with partners on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 Launched a Nationwide Conjugate Typhoid Vaccination Campaign in the country.

The launch of the typhoid immunization campaign which should have been held in February from the 24 to 28, 2021, throughout the Country witnessed several speeches from high profiled individuals representing government institutions as well as international partners.

Most of the speakers thanked the government and partners for making the drugs available to the Liberian populace, and at the same time called on stakeholders to take the lead in accepting and encouraging their respective constituencies to act similarly in order to medically save the state.

Also in remarks was Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah who explained the significance of the launch and joined speakers by calling on Liberians to adhere to all of the previous nationwide immunizations launched ahead of the typhoid vaccination.

Dr. Jallah said the move by the Ministry and its partner is part of government’s efforts to minimize the increasing waves of the Typhoid disease infection among Liberians. 

“We are calling on all of you people, the Liberian populace in general to take this and all other vaccinations across the country seriously, because this effort is meant to minimize diseases among all of us”, she encouraged participants during the launch.

In furtherance, the Liberian potential and passionate Health Minister officially declared the typhoid vaccination nationwide campaign launched, saying “the vaccine is save; free of charge, and it’s given by day and not at night. It’s also available for all children in the country.”

Dr. Jallah, however, used the occasion urging Liberian parents and residents to make their Children available to be vaccinated against Typhoid.

The vaccination campaign targets little over 1,91170 children between 9-months to 14-year old: “We are targeting little over 1,91170 children who will be vaccinated across the nation,” Adolphus Clarke, Program Manager, National Immunization, Ministry of Health, said in a remark during the launch held at the Monrovia Christian Fellowship International on 9th street Sinkor.

The MOH energetic and strategic EPI Manager named Schools, major market places, health facilities, among others are venues earmarked by the Ministry of Health for the immunization.

He used the gathering to heap praises on the government of Liberia and partners in the health sector for the provision of the vaccine and their enormous contribution and support to the Ministry.

Prior to the launch, a thematic committee comprised of the EPI Division, Health Promotion Division, and Communication Unit of the Ministry as well as partners held series of media briefings, advocacy and community engagements, airing of simple typhoid messages.

To ensure that targeted children across the country are vaccinated, stakeholders including the Liberian Marketing Association, Crusaders for Peace, Medical and Dental Council, the Traditional Council of Liberia among other groupings were engaged to create massive awareness ahead of this official launch.

Signed: ___________________________

           Felecia Gbesioh, Director of Communication, MoH, RL

“No Ebola In Liberia”

(Monrovia, Liberia, February 26, 2021)—The Health Minister of the republic of Liberia, Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah has clarified that there is no case of Ebola presently in the country.

Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah made the clarification Friday, February 26, 2021, during an emergency press briefing at the Ministry of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism (MICAT).

The Minister said though there are confirmed death and cases of the virus in neighboring Guinea, but as of today there were eight (8) suspected cases of the virus in the country came back with negative results.

“In Liberia, there were eight (8) alerts that faced the cases examination which they were all tested; they were all negative”, she disclosed

The Minister explained further that recently there were additional two suspected cases of the noxious virus which came back with negative results, again.

“Recently, we received two other alerts of those cases that did not face the cases definition, so we have no case in Liberia. As we stand, as of today, Friday, February 26, 2021, there is no case of Ebola in Liberia”, she emphasized.

On other front, Dr. Jallah told Journalists at the press conference that the global community is still combating the fight against coronavirus pandemic; as such, global togetherness is the remedy to conquering this fight. 

“There are over 112 million plus people that are being infected around the world. The death rate is over 2 million people. In Africa today, 3.8 million people have suffered from COVID-19 and 102000 persons have also lost their lives.

“Presently in Liberia, we have one new case, bringing our total confirmed cases to 2010 confirmed cases; recovery is at 1882; hence, we have no body in treatment unit, but we have people in home base care”, Dr. Jallah explained.

she used the occasion to encourage Liberians to seek their coronavirus test at the COVID-19 testing center located on the Sophia road in Monrovia, in order to know their coronavirus test status. And travelers who are traveling to other countries should observe all health protocols of those countries to avoid future embarrassment.

“We continue our testing at the Union Center on the Sophia road; so we advise, if you are traveling please make sure of the guidelines of the Country you are going to”, she advised

Responding to the Country’s preparedness in combating any pandemic, Dr. Jallah said Liberia had experience from previous outbreaks and lessons learned from those outbreaks prepared the country to combat coronavirus; therefore, all stringent measures have been instituted to face any outbreak.

The Minister was accompanied by the Program Manager on Immunization of the Ministry of Health, Adolphus Clarke, who called citizens and residents of the Country to serve as ambassadors in educating their respective communities on the pending nationwide vaccination exercises.

The Ministry and her partners are expected to carryout vaccination on polio, typhoid, coronavirus and other infectious disease in the length and birth of the Country.

The Ministry is expected to receive the first 384 thousand doses of COVID-19 vaccines in Liberia which will be arriving in the country in the soonest possible time. The coronavirus vaccination will commence two weeks after its arrival to create more education and awareness across the country, according to Manager Clarke.

This vaccination will target greater proportion of the country’s population, beginning with Health Care workers, the executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary branches of government; the Military and para Military, marketers, and wider range of sections of the population between 70 to 75%.

On the other hand, Mr. Clarke told scores of Journalists at the news conference that the vaccination of children between ages of zero to fifty-nine will run from March 12 to 15, targeting 972,870. “For Liberia we are hoping to reach 27039 children”, said the EPI Program Manager.

In conclusion, he said, Typhoid vaccination will run from the 24th to 28th of March, targeting over one million persons throughout the country.

He admonished journalists to initiate the John Baptist’s role in disseminating these vital information relative to the pending vaccination processes. 

Signed: ________________________

            Felecia Gbesioh

           Director of Communication, MOH, RL

Information on Polio in Liberia

  • Liberia and Africa were officially certified as free from Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in August 2020 by WHO, an incredible milestone in global polio eradication campaign
  • In 2021 another type of polio virus called cVDPV (Circulating Vaccine-Derived Polio Virus) is causing polio outbreaks in 18 countries of Africa
  • As of January 2021, all three countries bordering Liberia – Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Guinea – have reported polio outbreaks and over 100 children being paralyzed for life
  • Laboratory tests of environmental samples have already confirmed the presence of cVDPV type of polio virus circulating in Monrovia in December 2020
  • Liberia is at an immediate risk of a cVDPV polio outbreak and Liberian children are at an urgent risk of contracting this incurable disease

Polio in the World

  • COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted immunization around the world, including Liberia. From March to July 2020, 60 polio vaccination campaigns in 28 countries were suspended
  • Polio campaigns were suspended to protect communities and staff from COVID-19 impacting polio eradication efforts and increasing transmission of the disease
  • Rumors and misconceptions surrounding all vaccines, including Covid, have spread vaccine hesitancy globally including in Liberia with refusals noted among some communities
  • Africa is most seriously affected, but cVDPV outbreaks are also ongoing in the Middle East and Southeast Asia
  • In 2020 globally, over 900 polio cases were reported which is a substantial increase from 249 cases reported in 2019.
  • Polio is one of the only three diseases classified as a public health emergency of international concern along with Ebola and COVID-19 pandemic. Detection of polio is a Public Health Emergency in any country, including Liberia.

Action in Liberia

  • Based on laboratory results confirming the circulation of cVDPV polio virus in Liberia, the Government of Liberia has declared a Public Health Emergency for cVDPV polio outbreak
  • With support from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), which includes WHO, UNICEF, GAVI, CDC and Rotary, the Ministry of Health plans to conduct two rounds of house-to-house polio nationwide campaign with an aim of vaccinating at least 95% children aged 0-5 years while observing COVID19 protocols to ensure vaccinators, health workers and communities adhere to COVID19 precautions and are protected from COVID19.
  • With support from partners, the Ministry of Health will conduct trainings for vaccinators and other health workers on polio immunization and COVID19 precautions such as wearing of masks, keeping a safe distance and frequent handwashing with soap and clean water. In addition, personal protective equipment such as masks will be provided to all health workers participating in the polio campaign
  • To better address ongoing outbreaks of type 2 cVDPV, as recommended by WHO, the Ministry of Health plans to deploy an additional outbreak response tool, the novel oral polio vaccine (nOPV2), which is clinically proven to reduce the risk of cVDPV and is specifically designed to protect children from the only type of poliovirus that remains in Liberia

About Polio, cVDPV and nOPV2

  • Polio virus, both WPV and cVDPV, cause lifelong paralysis in children under 5 years of age
  • There is no cure for polio, but it can be prevented with two drops of the polio vaccine
  • The best protection against polio is ensuring all children are vaccinated during routine and supplementary immunization campaigns, and maintaining strong disease surveillance
  • Millions of doses of polio drops have been administered throughout the world and have saved millions of children from paralysis
  • All vaccines for children are safe even if a child is suffering from fever, cough, or diarrhea. Polio vaccine is also safe for newborns, even if they have been born a few hours ago. 
  • Polio vaccine has little to no side effects and can be given multiple times to boost immunity against the polio virus
  • If a population is optimally immunized with polio vaccines, it will be protected from all types of polio including WPV and cVDPV
  • cVDPV occurs when weakened strain of the poliovirus contained in the oral polio vaccine (OPV) circulates among under-immunized population for a long time
  • cVDPV outbreaks are stopped using same tactics that enabled progress against WPV polio, ensuring every child is given oral polio vaccine in high-quality immunization campaigns
  • nOPV2 is a safe and effective polio vaccine that has been in development for over 10 years and has been thoroughly tested in adults, children and infants across multiple countries
  • nOPV2 has been approved by the Ministry of Health and is recommended by WHO for use in controlling polio outbreaks

Public and Media Support

  • Share accurate information with the public based on this page to ensure parents are aware of the risk from polio and seek vaccination for their children
  • Counter rumors and misinformation whenever identified, without repeating the rumors, through facts and correct information on this page
  • Report rumors and misinformation to Ministry of Health at (vaccines@moh.gov.lr) so that it can be immediately responded to and stop the spread of harmful behaviors
  • Refrain from exacerbating or repeating rumors and misinformation which can result in violence against health workers
  • Maintain ethical reporting standards by protecting identities of persons infected with the disease to prevent stigmatization of patients and their families
  • Inform your families and communities about protecting themselves from contracting polio by getting vaccinated
  • Inform people to seek medical help if their child or a child in their community is suffering from sudden paralysis of one or multiple limbs
  • Post on Facebook, write stories, run radio messages and hold TV or radio talk shows to create awareness on the disease and encourage parents to immunize their children against polio
  • Use your organization’s or employer’s social media to distribute accurate information with the public based on this document so that parents in Liberia are aware of the risk from polio virus
  • Counsel and encourage parents who refuse the polio vaccine and convince them to vaccinate their children, so that their own child and other children in the community can remain safe
  • Encourage vaccinators and parents to observe all COVID preventive measures; always wash your hands with soap and clean water, wear face masks and continue social distancing
  • Encourage parents and caregivers to always take their children to the nearest Health Facility so their children can be vaccinated against all vaccine-preventable diseases
  • Reach out to Ministry of Health (vaccines@moh.gov.lr) for accurate information, clarifications interviews and support for stories

Key Messages to Use

(Approved for use by anyone and on all mediums)

  • All children in Liberia under aged 0-5 years are at an immediate risk of contracting another type of polio virus
  • Tests have confirmed that this type of polio virus is already circulating in Monrovia
  • Polio cases have already been reported in Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Guinea
  • There is an urgent need to ensure all children aged 0-5 years are protected against polio by giving them two drops of the polio vaccine
  • Polio is a dangerous disease that has no cure and can only be prevented through multiple doses of polio vaccine
  • Polio vaccine requires multiple doses to achieve complete immunity and ensure the child’s full protection from polio; multiple dozes of the polio vaccine pose no harm to children
  • The best protection against polio is ensuring all children are vaccinated during routine and supplementary immunization campaigns
  • The Ministry of Health will conduct two-rounds of house-to-house national polio immunization campaign, dates will be announced shortly
  • All children aged 0-5 years must be vaccinated against polio with two drops of polio vaccine during the two rounds of national house-to-house polio immunization campaigns
  • The polio vaccine is free, safe and effective to protect children in Liberia from the remaining type of polio
  • Polio vaccine is given in the mouth of the child and only protects children from polio, children need other vaccines to be protected from other diseases
  • Polio drops have successfully protected millions of children around the world from polio for decades, and continuous protection is needed
  • Polio drops have safely eradicated the wild poliovirus in Liberia and other countries such as United States, United Kingdom and France.
  • Polio vaccine is recommended for use in Liberia by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health because it can provide continuous, urgently needed protection against the remaining type of poliovirus
  • Polio vaccine been clinically shown to be a safe option for vaccination against the remaining type of polio

Polio Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Polio?

Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus, a virus which affects mostly children under the ages of 5. It has no cure, causes lifelong paralysis in children, and in some cases, it can cause death. The only way to protect children is to give them two drops of the oral polio vaccine.

2. Liberia and Africa in general was recently declared polio free, can you explain why we have an outbreak in the country despite the polio free certification?

There are two types of polio, the wild polio virus (WPV) and vaccine-derived polio (cVDPV). Africa and Liberia eradicated WPV type of polio, WPV remains only in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Liberia currently has an active outbreak with cVDPV virus confirmed in Monrovia, and over 100 cases confirmed in neighboring countries such as Guinea, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire.

cVDPV polio outbreaks occur when the weakened strain of the polio virus contained in the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) circulates in under-immunized communities for a long time. While Liberia has been declared free from WPV, a lot of children remain at risk of cVDPV type of polio due to the low immunization rates in Liberia and the neighboring countries.

3. Why are we reporting cases of the vaccine-derived polio in Liberia?

Vaccine-derived polio (cVDPV) continues to circulate due to the low routine and polio immunization vaccination rates in Liberia and other countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the already low routine and supplementary polio immunizations rates in the country as most activities were put on hold.

Many parents and caregivers did not immunize their children for fear of leaving their houses due to COVID-19. Rumors and misconceptions around vaccines especially Covid Vaccine created fear in communities hence people did not immunize their children.

The outbreak can also be attributed to importation from neighboring countries and poor hygiene and sanitation in the country. Liberia is amongst 18 African countries that have reported cVDPV polio outbreaks in 2021.

4. How is cVDPV polio transmitted?

cVDPV is transmitted through the oral-fecal route from one person to another. The weakened virus is excreted through feces after a child is vaccinated and could easily spread in places with poor hygiene, sanitation, open defecation and overcrowding. This weakened virus can also transmit when water, food or fingers get contaminated by stool containing the weakened virus.

5. Who is at risk of contracting polio?

Due to the low immunization rates in the country, all children aged below 5 years are at high risk especially unvaccinated children or children with low immunity. The best protection against polio is ensuring all children are vaccinated during routine and supplementary immunization campaigns. If a child is optimally immunized with polio vaccines, he/she will be protected from both all types of polio.

6. Why is it important to immunize children again and again with the polio vaccine?

Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) requires multiple doses to achieve complete immunity in the child and ensure the child’s full protection from polio. Receiving multiple dozes of the polio vaccine poses no harm to your child and is completely safe for children.

7. Will the Ministry of Health use the same vaccine that is causing the polio outbreak to stop the outbreak?

With recommendation from WHO, the Ministry of Health plans to use nOPV2 polio vaccine to stop the polio outbreak. This vaccine is clinically proven to be safe and more effective at reducing the risk of cVDPV.

8. How do we know the vaccine against polio is safe?

Polio vaccine is the safest way to protect children from the remaining type of polio. Polio vaccine in Liberia is pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure safety and effectiveness. The vaccines are supplied through UNICEF nationwide for both routine immunization and during immunization campaigns.

Polio vaccine is safe even if the child is suffering from fever, cough, or diarrhea, and is also safe for newborns as young as a few hours old. Polio vaccine has little to no side effects and can be safely given to children multiple times. Countries like the United States, United Kingdom and France used polio vaccine to eradicate polio and protected millions of children from paralysis.

9. How does the Ministry of Health plan to vaccinate all eligible children in the country?

Through two rounds of house-to-house polio campaigns throughout the country, the MoH plans to vaccinate 95% children aged 0-5 years while strictly observing COVID19 protocols to ensure children, vaccinators, health workers and communities are protected.

11. How will the ministry ensure safety of community, health workers and children from COVID19 during the house-to-house polio campaign?

All vaccinators and health workers who will be engaged in the polio vaccination campaign will strictly adhere to the COVID19 protocols by wearing masks, keeping a safe distance while in the communities and frequently washing hands with soap and water.

Ministry of Health also urges the public to adhere to all COVID-19 protective measures and support health workers by presenting all children under the ages of 5 for vaccination whenever a polio team arrives.

12. What impact do COVID-19, rumors, misconceptions and disinformation have on the polio campaigns?

COVID-19 rumors and misconceptions have affected routine immunization services as well as polio campaigns all over the world, including in Liberia. Restrictions of movements due to COVID-19 and dissemination of false information regarding vaccines are some of the reasons that we currently have an outbreak in Liberia.

The Ministry of Health would like to reiterate that the polio vaccine is safe and has been used to avert paralysis in millions of children globally. The Ministry would also like to urge to the public to desist from spreading false information and encourages health workers, community influencers, the media and health experts to counter rumors by providing accurate information to the public.

12. What is nOPV2 and why is it being used?

nOPV2 is a type of polio vaccine that has been in development for over 10 years and has been thoroughly tested in adults, children and infants across multiple countries. It has been declared safe and effective by the Ministry of Health and is recommended for use in polio outbreaks by WHO around the world. It is the most recommended vaccine to control the remaining type of polio virus that is still circulating in Liberia. It is given as 2 drops in a child’s mouth and protects children from polio virus. It can be safely given multiple times to all children under the ages of 5, including newborns or children who have fever, diarrhea, or cough.

“Suspected Ebola Case Tested Negative”

((Monrovia, Liberia, January 22, 2021)—Rumors speculating in the public glare of resurfacing of Ebola virus in the country has met serious resistance from Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah and her team of experts, as she clarifies the none existence of the noxious disease in the Country.

Reacting to the situation on Friday, February 19, 2021, Dr Jallah said report circulating in the public, especially on social media and other media outlets of a confirmed case in the Country, is false and misleading; instead the suspected case was tested negative.

Addressing a news conference at the Ministry of Information, Minister Jallah beseeched Liberians to stop panicking; hence, they should take all proactive preventive measures prescribed by World Health Organization (WHO) and health authorities in the Country; so as to avoid contracting any disease.

Earlier, Liberia’s Health Authorities, by directive of H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah, instituted preventive health protocols to prevent further spread of the Coronavirus by taking precautionary methods, such as social distancing, wearing a mask, avoiding crowded areas, and frequent hands washing with clean water and soap.

To enforce President Weah’s Mandate of providing maximum stringent measures which is aimed at heightening  the country’s EPI- surveillance and preventative activities in the wake of reports of the resurgence of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in neighboring Guinea, Dr Jallah told newsmen that all borders neighboring Guinea are being monitored by joint security apparatus  to include the Liberian National Police (LNP), Liberia’s Immigration Service (LIS), the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and  the Country’s Health Authorities

At the same time, Dr. Jallah used the occasion to thank all Health Care Workers for the services they are rendering to serve the nation and people.

” I want to say congratulation and a very big thank you to our Health Care Workers for doing what they do best in taking care of the Liberian people. They have been vigilant in spite of the COVID-19; they are all doing their best that they can. Thank you for the great job you are doing” she said.

Dr. Jallah also appealed to those health workers who are yet to receive their hazard’s benefits to exercise patience by avoiding the sun through protestation which is not healthy for them because lot of their colleagues have been paid.

The Ministry is consistently working with the Ministry of Finance to urgently remedy the situation. 

The Minister, however, conclusively revealed that Liberia now has a DNA machine which was promised by H.E Dr. George M. Weah.

“We also want to bring you the good news that the DNA machine which the President spoke about has finally arrived, and it’s currently at the Ministry of Health. we will be unveiling it in the soonest possible time.” Dr. Jallah stated.

Signed: _____________________________________

                  Felecia Gbesioh

                  Director of Communication, MOH, RL 

Min. Jallah Declares Polio Outbreak As National Public Health Emergency

(Monrovia, Liberia, February 4, 2021)—the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, has issued a statement declaring polio outbreak within the Country as a ‘National Public Health Emergency.’

The bold move by the Minister followed after a detection of polio virus types two by the National Surveillance System, which has spread throughout the Country from two different environmental sites in Monrovia.

The detection of these isolated viruses in Monrovia have spread throughout the Country. Experience from other countries in Africa and around the world had shown that responding as soon as the virus is detected in an environment, swift intervention is needed to curtail its further spread.

As a result, the Ministry on February 4, 2021, declared the virus sporadic outbreak as a National Health Emergency.

“In line with WHO and the communities for Polio and the International Health Regulation of 2005, recommendations as that in such a case, action supposed to be taken to curtail its further spread; therefore, I am officially declaring this event as a National Public Health Emergency. This means that number one, we have to continue to monitor the situation within the Country; and the second, most important thing we have to do is to interrupt the spread of this polio virus and go back to try and eradicate it,” she declared.

Under the National Polio Emergency, Minister Jallah declared immediate measures that include door-to-door polio vaccination campaign in every community across the Country; monitoring the situation within the country to beef up the fight against polio.

In remarks at a news conference on February 4, 2021, the energetic Minister of Health promised that her administration would move with deliberate speed in ensuring that children from zero to fifty-nine-month old are vaccinated and registered for national birth certification.

 “This exercise will be a door-to-door because we do not have to miss any child. We will be going from door-to-door making sure that each child is vaccinated in your home. There will be a lot more coverage on it so you can know when we coming and who will be coming to your homes. Coupled with that exercise, we want to make sure that children births are registered. So this will us be the opportunity to be able to register all of the children and make sure that they have birth certificates. So two things that will be done: we will make sure kids are protected and vaccinated, and then we will make sure that the birth is registered.”

Dr Jallah urged all Liberians, babies’ mothers as well as local and international stakeholders to work with the Ministry to defeat the spread of the virus in the Country.

“This virus being circulating within the public about a year so we are ready to move things forward quickly to protected the Children. So therefore, all of our teams are ready and we want to bring it to the public officially to let them know that this virus is in the country and the action that will be taken going forward,” she concluded.

Signed: _____________________________________________

                  Felecia Gbesioh

                  Director of Communication, MOH, RL

DKT Int’l Donates Medical Consignment To MOH

(Monrovia, Liberia, February 3, 2021)—the Ministry of Health has received a donation of assorted medical consignments from DKT international to aid sexual and reproductive health in Liberia.

DKT international is one of the world’s largest providers of contraception and safe abortion products in mitigating the impending effects of COVID-19 on global access to contraceptives by adopting necessary preventive measures.

The assorted medical supplies which are to be available for free services at the public facilities within Liberia include: 2, 500 MVA kits, 15, 000 MM combi kit (combo), and 15,000 Miso-fem (Misoprostol).

These supplies are intended to reduce preventative deaths by securing abortion care services at public facilities

While presenting the donation to Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, DKT Liberia Country Manager, Antonio Cazares Turcott said, considering the recent global health crisis, his organization is grateful to aid sexual and reproductive health in Liberia.

“DKT is grateful for its partnership with the Embassy of Sweden in Liberia and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to aid sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) Liberia. Through this aid, DKT is equipped to handle potential shortages due to COVID-19 and expand access to contraceptive and safe abortion”, said Turcott.

He has vowed to do everything, in partnership with the Swedish Embassy and the Ministry of Health, to minimize disruption in the access to and use of high-quality sexual and reproductive Health (SRH) products in Liberia.

“The reproductive health needs of women and men worldwide are not on “pause” during this time, so we are taking steps to address those needs. In Liberia, DKT and the Swedish Embassy responded to this alarm bell, donating all of these medical consignments,” the DKT Country Manager expressed on Wednesday February 3, 2021. “In this unprecedented time, DKT is leveraging its strong links with the public sector to provide support where it is possible by securing SRH commodities at the public facilities.”

Last year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) launched at the Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC) guidelines along with other partners which DKT is disseminating the new guidelines and distribution of abortion care commodities that will equip health care providers to provide high quality, comprehensive, non-judgement abortion care services that protest patient privacy and confidentiality.

The CAC guidelines seek the provision of CAC services that recognizes women and girls’ right to dignify and respectful maternal health, equal access to high quality services for hard-to-reach, vulnerable, and disadvantaged populations, such as adolescents and productions in rural and remote areas.

The MOH is integrating Sexual, reproductive, maternal, and neonatal health services, inclusive of comprehensive family planning, across all levels of the health system.

The CAC guidelines goals include: to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality related to unsafe abortions increase contraceptive uptake among women and men (including girls and boys) to prevent unintended pregnancies, and provide clear guidance to improve provider skills, attitude, and confidence in the of CAC services.

Receiving the donation on behalf of the government of Liberia, Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah said the donation came timely wherein there are many young people who are sexually active and there are lot of complications that followed during their sexual responsibilities— “Being sexually active is a responsibility.”

“Our health practitioners who are not trained to operate these medicines will be trained to provide the needed services to our people when they get there. These materials are already in there so we as health practitioners have to use it for the intended purpose and to make sure our young girls are safe from these young boys,” Dr. Jallah said.

She assured the public that the Ministry and its partners are exerting every effort to reduce maternal mortality and other complicated health problems young people encounter across the country.  

During the handover ceremony at the Ministry was Swedish Ambassador to Liberia, H.E. Ingrid Wetterqvist who said Sweden believes norms and laws should work together with the availability of services to reach all young people in urban and rural areas to empower them exercise their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

 “Sweden strongly supports Liberia’s efforts to reverse this negative trend of high maternal mortality and to enhance access to sexual and reproductive health and rights,” she

Through DKT international, Sweden Supports social marketing of wide range of contraceptive products through the private sector, according to H.E. Ambassador Wetterqvist.

She concluded by saying “Sweden is pleased that DKT International extends its support to the public sector through its collaboration with the Ministry of Health.”

Signed: _____________________________________________

                  Felecia Gbesioh

            Director of communication

MOH Launches Short Code for Accident Victims

(Monrovia, Liberia, January 3, 2021)—the Ministry of Health (MOH) through its Emergency Management System Division has officially launched a short code for accident victims across the Country to help alleviate many challenges faced by accident victims in Liberia.

Although there is existent emergency contact on the Ministry’s emergency ambulances for people with medical complications but this new short code is exclusively for accident victims

During the launch on Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at the Ministry in Congo Town, Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah encouraged the general public to take advantage of the new code by dialing 5888 on any of the GSM companies in the Country.

Minister Jallah, who is passionate and committed to providing quality health service to the country, told scores of Journalists that there is no cost attached dialing or calling the short code: “You can call any of the GSM companies in Liberia for free of charge—if you don’t have any money on your phone, you still dial it and our team will immediately answer you”.

In terms of capacity (number of ambulances) to rapidly response to accident victims across the country, Dr. Jallah said, though the Ministry is still lobbying for more logistics including ambulances but there are sufficient ambulances across the country to sustain the program.

“We have enough ambulances that could sustain the program in all of the fifteen (15) counties. You can call the code wherever you are in Liberia, because these ambulances are stationed at strategic places to provide you the needed services.”

Dr. Jallah cautioned drivers to avoid drunkenness and speediness while plying roads within the country in order to minimize the rate of accident.

“We want Liberians to be safe, therefore, we want to suggest to you that If you are drunk, do not drive; or if your friend is drinking and you are together don’t encourage he/she to drive.” She added.

For his part, the Director of Emergency Management System Division of MOH, Mark Luke, said introduction of the code is meant to improve the provision of quality emergency services across the country.

“This is part of our responsibility as a Division of the Ministry as mandated by the Minister to improve on the provision of emergency services in the country. Owing to this, we decided to join others through the Road Safety secretariat to source some funding to have this number paid for and other materials that are expected to be here soon,” said Director Mark Luke

Signed: _____________________________________

                  Felecia Gbesioh

                  Director of Communication, MOH  

Mercy Ships Donates Assorted Medical Supplies To MOH

(Congo Town, Monrovia, Liberia, January 27, 2021) As part of partnership with the Government of Liberia and the Ministry of Health for the protection of healthcare workers in Liberia, Mercy Ships Wednesday, January 27, 2021 donated assorted Medical Supplies to the Ministry in Congo Town.

The mix Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) included 74,300 pieces composed of 16,800 surgeon/nurse caps, 8,000 N95 filtering face piece masks, 14,500 examination gloves, 16,000 isolation gowns, 2,200 goggles and 16,800 pairs of shoe-covers.

“On behalf of Mercy Ships international, our board, Africa Bureau, International Support Center and national offices staff, crew and volunteers of the Ships, it is my privilege as designated Mercy Ships Country Director for Liberia to complete the donation handover of Personal Protective Equipment from Mercy Ships,” Keith Brinkman, Mercy Ships Country Director to Liberia said during handover of the donation to Minister Wilhelmina Jallah at the Minister of Health in Monrovia.

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic last year, Mercy Ships had made earlier donation of PPE to the Ministry of Health consisting of 13,600 of pieces of assorted medical supplies.

“I also express our appreciation to the MSC Foundation for their donation of shipping and port coordination and their partnership with Mercy Ship since 2011. Also thanks to the contracted services of OBT shipping here in Liberia for clearance,” Keith Brinkman, Mercy Ships Country Director to Liberia noted. “Similar shipments were sent to 10 other partner nations including Benin, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Madagascar, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo”.

The PPE is designated for distribution by the Ministry for the ongoing battle to continue medical care and keep the health care workers safe.

Receiving the donation on behalf of the government and people of Liberia, Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah acknowledged the numerous contributions by Mercy Ships International since the outbreak of the noxious Coronavirus pandemic, describing it as a milestone in the fight against the pandemic.

Dr. Jallah, earlier, lauded Mercy Ship international for including Liberia among nations in the sub-region to benefit the donation which will guarantee the fight against the COVID-19.

“On behalf of the president, H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah, head of the sparkle team, who oversees the COVID-19, we appreciated the last gift you sent to us and it was to continue the fight against COVID-19. We are happy that you are able to provide all of these other materials us as well as our neighboring countries to continue to fight COVID-19. Everything that have been received here today will be used for its intended purpose—to protected the healthcare workers and to fight this virus,” she said during the donation.

Deliberating further at the one hundred thousand United States dollars ($100,000US) donation, the energetic Minister noted: “Also since we have move on from –COVID-19 to integrating the fight into routine health care, we will be able to supply all of our different facilities with materials to protect themselves, not only from COVID but from any other pending emerging infections that will come into the system, as the days go back.”

The donation which is aimed at enhancing workings of health workers at various facilities across the country, will not only benefit them (health workers) but will indirectly benefit populace in general: “We really appreciate what you have sent and I am sure that the rest of the population will benefit indirectly because as it goes to the facilities, our health workers will be fully prepare to do their job,” she concluded.

Signed: ________________________________

           Felecia Gbesioh

           Director of Communication, MOH