Liberia Receives Additional 302,400 Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines

(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.


           Felecia Gbesioh,

           Director of Communication, MOH

Message on the occasion of the 34th WAHO Day by Professor Stanley OKOLO, Director General of WAHO

Today 9 July 2021, the West Africa Health Organization commemorates 34 years of its existence, of which the past 18 months was the most challenging. As in other parts of the world, the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating health, social and economic impact on the population of West Africa. Since its inception, WAHO has worked closely with the 15 Ministries of Health of ECOWAS Member States, the Africa Regional Office of WHO and all key stakeholders, including more recently the Africa Centre for Disease Control, to drive its mandate of safeguarding and improving the health of the region’s citizens.

And despite recurrent disease outbreaks and epidemics that have challenged the fragile health systems in our region, WAHO has championed several health improvement programs including projects on reducing the number of women dying during childbirth and the number of children dying before the age of 5 years; projects on increasing local manufacture of high quality drugs; and projects on strengthening the region’s disease surveillance, preparedness and response architecture to ensure that infectious disease outbreaks are detected early and responded to robustly.

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, WAHO has led the regional response efforts by facilitating coordination, collaboration and communication between Member States and between the region and international partners. We have provided over 100,000kg of critically needed medical materials such as laboratory diagnostic equipment and reagents, personal protective equipment (PPEs), and respiratory ventilators, to support Member States in their national efforts. Over 3000 healthcare personnel have been trained in various skills required for the COVID-19 response efforts in addition to targeted financial support to help Member States in specific areas of need, such as engagement of contact tracers or public health rapid response teams, or purchase of necessary equipment for surveillance or diagnosis.

As we mark this year’s WAHO Day therefore, it is important that we remember all our citizens that have died in the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially healthcare workers that have paid the ultimate price with their lives whilst at the forefront of the response to this devastating pandemic. May the souls of all the departed rest in perfect peace.

Today also offers us the opportunity to reflect on the continuing challenges we face in trying to improve the health of the region’s population. One lesson of the devastating 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in our region was the need for an agency under WAHO dedicated specifically to surveillance, preparation and response to the recurrent epidemics in the region. Five years after the establishment of the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control (ECOWAS RCSDC) it is an issue of personal regret that the centre is not yet fully operational due to bureaucratic delays in the long running ECOWAS Institutional Reform program. WAHO therefore continues to lead the region’s health security agenda in addition to all the other burning health issues, such as malaria, non-communicable diseases, regional production of quality medicines, and universal health coverage.

Although the region has fared much better than predicted during the COVID-19 pandemic, the weaknesses in our health systems have been exposed, including weaknesses in infrastructure, human resources, and laboratory capacity, in addition to deficits in the levels of community engagement required for effective disease control. Governments and stakeholders must therefore resolve to strengthen national health systems, and to rebuild trust with our populations without whom public health measures will fail. It is within our power as individuals and groups to control this pandemic through social behavioral change, whilst we await availability of sufficient vaccine doses through international collaboration and ongoing discussions on establishing vaccine manufacturing facilities in the region.

WAHO is extremely grateful for the support of the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS Member States, the Ministers of Health, and of our international partners as we continue in solidarity on the march to regional integration through health. We still have a lot of work to do, but I believe that working together, we will succeed.

Long live ECOWAS. Long live WAHO. Long live Regional Integration.


The West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) was established in 1987 but became fully operational in 2000 when the first Director General was appointed. Over the years, WAHO has evolved to become a regional leader in health as it continues to deliver on its mandate as the Health Institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).