Covid-19 Vaccine Reaches Benevolent School

It was a Tuesday Morning at the Benevolent Primary School in Magburaka Town and it was day 9th (Tuesday 30th March, 2021) of the just concluded COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-out in Tonkolili District.

Benevolent Primary is a small school with over 200 pupils and staff strength of 10 teachers. Though a small school, the teachers looked committed and willing to first of all take actions to prevent the spread of the disease in the school thereby enforcing all the measures, backed with vaccination to save lives.

Upon arrival with the vaccination team at the school, I scanned a man in his late 50s who was so committed and had prepared the stage for vaccination.

When the team was preparing to get set for work, the man was already seated fully prepared to take the thin painless needle. 

He had a subtle facial expression, calmed and ready to participate.  Before the health worker could ask him if his medical condition, he picked it up and said, yes I am diabetic.

 This had put me in shock, but I later learnt that he had been educated enough trough the radio and had been earlier engaged by health workers, which I see as a plus and a means to achieving the desired goal. I get to know him as David A. Kamara and a father of 15. 

What actually caught the writer’s eye was his commitment and passion to take the vaccine. He even urged and motivated his colleagues to be vaccinated, as the benefits were explained by the health workers. 

Two days after he had been vaccinated on Tuesday 30th March which was day 9th of the Vaccine roll-out, the team visited David to assess if there were any incidence of adverse drug reaction following immunization (AFI), he was asked if he experienced any strange occurrence in his body.

He replied that he did not notice any sign of drug reaction of what so ever and that he actively taught 5 classes the day he took the vaccine in school and was also okay when he returned home “i took the first covid vaccine dose – it’s safe and i feel normal”

When asked about his views on the safety of the vaccine, he said with all the education and the political will already exhibited by state authorities, i think I should be knowledgeable and confident enough to say that the vaccine is safe and effective.

Besides, I have seen people taking the vaccine and they go about their business just like normal. “I took the first dose, I did not feel any effects and I am okay just like I was before taking the vaccine”.  Mr. Kamara added.

Mr. Kamara was given 1 dose of Oxford Astra-Zeneca Covid-19 vaccine because of his health condition and would receive his second dose on 25th May this year.

As the first phase of COVID-19 vaccine roll-out elapsed on 31st March, statistics have shown huge compliance among the target beneficiaries’ nationwide (healthcare workers, lecturers, police, military and correctional service and immigration officers and the aged).

Tonkolili District for example, has recorded over a thousand vaccinations, a figure which could rise with mopping-up exercise already in place.

American Govt to reduce Visa Sanctions on S/Leone  

 The Embassy of the United States of America to the Republic of Sierra Leone, on Tuesday has informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation through a Note Verbal of the decision by the Secretary of States of the United States of America to reduce the B1 and B2 visa sanctions on Sierra Leone under section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, effective Wednesday 31st March, 2021.

According to the US Embassy, the decision to lift the B1 and B2 visa sanctions on Sierra Leone came as a result of the increased cooperation of the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone in facilitating the timely return of its nationals who have been subjected to final orders of removal from the United States of America.

The Embassy stated that Immigrant and most Non-immigrant visas are no longer restricted under the INA 243(d) visa sanctions.

The Embassy further stated that the Government of the United States of America, recognizes the Government of Sierra Leone’s increased responsiveness to the request from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Visa sanctions, the Embassy maintained would only apply to B1, B2, and B1/B2 non-immigrant visas for Sierra Leonean officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and immigration Department.

The Embassy continued that the Government of the United State will justify the complete removal of visa sanctions on Sierra Leone at a later date if the Government of Sierra Leone sustains the level of cooperation.

In August, 2017, the United States of America’s Secretary of Homeland Security informed the Secretary of State of an unreasonable delay by the Government of Sierra Leone to accept its citizens from the US.

In September, 2017, the Sectary of States imposed visa sanctions on B1, B2, and B1/B2 visas for officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.

In September, 2020, the Embassy informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the Secretary of States has expanded these sanctions to apply to all immigrant and non-immigrant visas with some exception due to insufficient removal cooperation of Sierra Leonean nationals from the United States of America.

In view of the above, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone expresses sincere appreciation to the United States Government and reiterates its commitment to further deepening the cooperation between Sierra Leone and the United States of America.


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