The government of Liberia through Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah and Foreign Minister, H.E. Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., on Friday, March 5, 2021, received first the shipment of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines at the Roberts International Airport (RIA).
The 96,000 doses received is part of 384,000 doses that are expected to be delivered to Liberia through the COVAX Facility soon.
Receiving the consignments, Liberia’s Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, lauded the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Government, the COVAX Facility, including other partners in ensuring that Liberia becomes a recipient of the COVAX Vaccine.
Minister Jallah said the consignment of COVAX Vaccine is very important to the government of Liberia’s continued fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
She noted that the government attaches great importance to the protection of its citizens, especially with the arrival of the COVAX Vaccine.
The Health Minister said the ministry has already begun receiving calls from Liberians who are willing to take the COVAX Vaccine, saying “this must be echo across the country.”
The Vaccines were presented to the Government of Liberia by the Country Representative of the World Health Organization to Liberia, Dr. Peter Clements, and Mr. Samuel Mawunganidze, UNICEF Deputy Representative for Programme.
Making remarks on behalf of the government and people of Liberia, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dee Maxwell Kemayah, extended gratitude to the international partners through whom Liberia has benefited from COVAX Facility.
Minister Kemayah said the government is thrilled with the initial 96,000 doses of the COVID-19 Vaccines, which he believed will further upsurge Liberia’s preparedness in continuation of its fight against the Virus.
He assumed the partners of Liberia’s eagerness to ensuring that no stone is left unturned in adherence to all health protocols and preventive measures prescribed by health authorities.
Also, in remarks was US Ambassador to Liberia, Ambassador Michael McCarthy, who expressed US’ willingness to supporting Liberia’s fight against the virus.
“The United States is committed to working with partners across the globe to end the devastating public health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ambassador McCarthy disclosed.
With this, he added that President Joe Biden announced $4 billion in funding to support the international vaccine initiative COVAX, which facilitates procurement and equitable global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, including 92 low- and middle-income economies supported through the COVAX Advanced Markets Commitment.
Speaking further, the American Ambassador stated, “This contribution makes the United States the single largest contributor to the international response to COVID-19 and builds on decades of U.S. investments in global health, health security, and global health organizations, as well as demonstrating the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to build back better by strengthening multilateral cooperation on the response and advancing global health. “we encourage other countries to make and fulfill concrete commitments to COVAX and to support expanding vaccine manufacturing and distribution to help end this pandemic and ensure future preparedness.”
The US Ambassador congratulated the Government of Liberia on her continued commitment to reducing the transmission and halting the spread of COVID-19 in Liberia and in the region.
“Liberia’s successful fight against COVID-19 to date takes a critical leap forward with the arrival of vaccines to protect health care workers and the most vulnerable from this terrible disease. But the work doesn’t stop here. We hope Liberians will take the opportunity to receive safe and effective vaccines if offered. And, as always, we remind everyone to continue to wash your hands frequently, wear a mask, stay two arms-length apart in public, and seek treatment if you feel sick. Together we can put an end to this pandemic,” Ambassador McCarthy stressed.
According to the U.S. Ambassador, the American Government has provided an initial tranche of $2 billion to COVAX and will provide the additional funding through 2022, disclosing “We will also work with other donors to make further pledges and commitments to meet the initiative’s critical needs. We are committed to working with partners and governments to support global COVID-19 vaccination efforts, with a focus on vaccinating vulnerable populations.”
Outlining efforts made by the US Government, Ambassador McCarthy intimated that for the last 60 years the U.S. Government has been working with Liberia’s health sector as a partner to strengthen services and build capacity; the U.S. Government provided $2.3 million to Liberia’s COVID-19 response; USAID supported risk communications, county-level coordination and response, cash transfers, hospitals and treatment facilities, and overall safety nets for the most vulnerable; the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to provide critical technical assistance to strengthen contract tracing, surveillance, and laboratory activities; and the U.S. Department of Defense coordinated the transfer of personal protective equipment, medical supplies, and medical equipment, respectfully.
The turning over ceremony was witnessed by several dignitaries to include the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Niels Scott, the Ambassador, Head of Delegation of the European Union (EU), Laurent Delahousse, the Ambassadors of France, Michaël Roux, Germany, Hubert Jäger, United Kingdom, Neil Bradley, and the United States, Michael A. McCarthy, as well as the Chargé d’Affaires of Ireland, Kate O’Donnell, Rep. Joseph N. Somwarbi, Chairman on Health, House of Representative, and other representatives of multilateral agencies and the colorful representation of the fourth estate .
Director of Communication