By Binta Fatty
Unlike developed countries, most developing countries, especially in west Africa continue to struggle to meet their targeted goals for the Covid-19 vaccination programs and The Gambia is not an exception to this challenge.
The Gambia is moving, but at a relatively slow pace to meet its 70% target of vaccine rollout in the country.
The Covid-19 vaccines always bring fear due to rumors, misinformation and disinformation about the vaccines. These made it difficult for most Gambians, especially nursing mothers to take the vaccines.
Isatou Jallow, the Regional Health Promotion and Education Officer for West Coast Region, said the emergence of Covid-19 vaccines lessens the dangerous impact of the coronavirus, hence, urged the general public especially nursing mothers to take the vaccine, noting that it is safe for everyone. “There are lots of rumours, misconceptions, myths here and there regarding vaccines, but I can attest that all those things are hearsay.” She added a lot of people are misled by those who are doing exactly what they are telling them not to do. “What they are doing is different from what they are telling you.”
Salimina Sillah, a Senior Public Health Officer at the New Yundum Health Center, expressed disappointment with the turnout of people for COVID vaccination. “Most of the mothers coming here are not willing to take the vaccine.” He added that vaccine hesitancy is probably higher in nursing mothers than any other group.
He continued to explain that there is no recognized downside of the Covid-19 vaccine except for the side effects, which are almost the same as the ones people experience from other vaccines as well.
Serreh Ceesay, a nursing mother from New Yundum, disclosed that she did not take the vaccine because of fear of the things she heard, especially at the market.
Isatou Manneh, a Public Health Officer and a nursing mother, said she took her first jab while nursing but did not experience any issues. She urged everyone including nursing mothers to go for their jabs to protect themselves and their children. Also, a nursing mother Ndey Demba reiterated the fact that the vaccines are safe for all. She said her life has been normal since she took her first dose of the vaccine.