(Sunday, July 25, 2021, RIA, Liberia)—the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health on Sunday July 25, 2021, received additional consignment of the Johnson and Johnson COVAX Vaccines.
“The arrival of this gift is very timely and it will help us to reach the benchmark set by WHO to have at least 10% of the population vaccinated against COIVD-19 by September 2021”, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah said in a remark while receiving the consignment at the Roberts International Airport.
Expunging further on rumors surrounding funding shipment of the vaccines, Dr. Jallah said: “this is a gift from the United States government, which was brought into the country free of charge. Our government didn’t pay anything for the arrival. Every processing surrounding this vaccine was done by our partners”.
Since the country started immunization of the AstraZeneca vaccines, there are about 86,288 persons who have received the first dose, while 9,579 persons have received the second dose.
The Liberian Health Minister has warned previously recipients of the AstraZeneca Vaccines to avoid taking the new dose (J&J) in country, saying “those who took the first doses of the AstraZeneca Vaccines should wait for the vaccine that is expected to be in country at the end of this month. This J&J vaccine is only for those who have not taken any COVID-19 related vaccines. So, please wait for the AstraZeneca. It will soon be in country”.
Now, as part of US President Joe Biden administration’s global efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, US Ambassador accredited to Liberia Michael McCarthy said, his government saw it prudent to have intervened by donating 302,400 doses of the J&J vaccines to Liberia.
This is also part of the U.S. pledged to initially provide at least 25 million of 80 million doses globally with Africa being a continent of priority.
“We are proud to continue working together with the Liberian government, the private sector, and civil society to do everything we can to mitigate the pandemic’s high toll on life, livelihoods, and social impacts”, remarked Ambassador McCarthy. “To everyone who has not been vaccinated, I strongly encourage you to do so—as I did—as soon as you have the opportunity”, Amb. McCarthy expressed.
Earlier, handling over the vaccines to the Liberian government through Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, the US Envoy echoed Mr Biden’s administration commitment “as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic at home and work to end the pandemic worldwide, President Biden has promised that the United States will be an arsenal of vaccines for the world”.
The Janssen Vaccines was developed in Leiden, Netherlands, and its Belgian parent company Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of American company Johnson & Johnson.
It is a viral vector vaccine based on a human adenovirus that has been modified to contain the gene for making the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. The body’s immune system responds to this spike protein to produce antibodies. The vaccine requires only one dose and does not need to be stored frozen.
Clinical trials for the vaccine were started in June 2020, with Phase III trials involving around 43,000 people. On 29 January 2021, Janssen announced that 28 days after a completed vaccination, the vaccine was 66% effective in a one-dose regimen in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, with an 85% efficacy in preventing severe COVID-19, and 100% efficacy in preventing hospitalization or death caused by the disease.
The vaccine has been granted by the US Food and Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency (EMA and the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
Director of Communication, MOH