Amidst Citizens’ Outburst For Weah To Be The First To Take The Vaccine Against COVID-19, Report Says This Was Done In France
As Liberians ponder over the alleged refusal for the Liberian leader, George Manneh Weah to be part of Liberians who took the 96,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived this year, report gathered by this outlet revealed that the Liberian leader upon arrival in Paris, France was reportedly given his first dose of the vaccine.
This report which has not been confirmed by the Liberian presidential media team has ascended more questions than answers, with many Liberians some of whom have refused to be vaccinated against this deadly virus to wonder as to why such reported action was done by the President.
Liberians who are murmuring over the President’s action of not taken the vaccine for the benefit of his citizens, as is being done by other world leaders aimed at given their respective citizens the hope to battle against the virus, the Liberian leader instead did not take cue in this regard.
As a result of the Liberian leader reported delay or refusal to be vaccinated, many Liberians who spoke to the GNN are still insisting that they will not take the vaccine, unless the President set the example (Take the vaccine).
As Liberians publicly questioning the alleged delay by the President to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the Deputy Presidential spokesperson appearing on a social media podcast Focus on Liberia (FoL) on Friday afternoon failed to offer a straightforward answer on whether the Liberian leader, who is currently visiting France, has been inoculated.
They have been pondering over the vaccination status of their leader since the outbreak of the global pandemic over a year ago. In May, 2020, the Liberian Government expended over USD $77,000 (Seventy-Seven Thousand USD) to charter a private flight to bring in unproven Covid-19 herbal tonic from Madagascar.
President Weah personally received the consignment of the herbal tonic from Roberts International Airport (RIA) which had been shut down at the time to international travel due to the pandemic.
Asked directly if President Weah has taken the vaccine, Deputy Presidential Press Secretary Smith Toby answered, “The decision as to when, how, where the President gets vaccinated is the President’s decision. It is not my decision. The population of Liberia can go on the mat and cry 24/7. When President Weah decides to get vaccinated, he will get vaccinated.
Pressed further by the podcast hosts on the vaccination status of the Liberian Chief Executive, the Deputy Presidential spokesperson Mr. Toby continued, “So, I’m saying to you, if the President will get vaccinated or has been vaccinated the public will get to know.”
He further defended his response saying, “the decision to et vaccinated is an individual decision whether you President or the lowest inkeeper. The decision of vaccination is President Weah’s decision.”
Mr. Toby rejected the continuous line of questioning on the vaccination status of President Weah, adding, “I’m not sure if he is the only President in the world who hasn’t gotten vaccinated.”
Presidents Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Pual Kagame of Rwanda, Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana and Wavel Ramkalawan of Seychelles are some African leaders who have publicly taken the jab to demonstrate example to their citizens.
The latest utterances of the Presidential spokesperson are stoking more controversy around the President amidst criticisms of the mismanagement of the Government’s response to the rise in infections.
The global public-private initiatve to accelerate the development, production, and equitable distribution of COVID-19 test and treatment known as COVAX delivered over 96,000 does of the vaccine free of charge to Liberia last March.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says, once the vaccine is taken, and a person is exposed to the dangerous pathogen in the future, their immune system will be able to respond immediately, protecting against disease.
It is unclear if members of the delegation accompanying President Weah have also been vaccinated before traveling.
Healthcare practitioners in Liberia say President Weah and senior Goverment officials public demonstration in support of taking the vaccines and urging citizens to practice basic hygiene, social distancing and mask wearing will significantly assist in curbing disinformation and fear in the society.