By Bill W. Cooper
Deputy Presidential Press Secretary, Smith Toby says the President is not in a competition with the opposition community in taking the first dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.
Reacting sharply to public criticism against the Liberian leader’s prolong delay in taking the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, Smith said, “Nobody will want to run a vaccine-taking competition with the President and more besides, nobody is being pushed or intimated about this vaccine and everybody is voluntarily taking their first dose of the vaccine. So the President will decide as to when he will take the vaccine.”
Mr. Toby’s assertion comes amidst huge public outcries about the Liberian leader’s alleged refusal/delay to publically get immunized like some of his key officials and other prominent Liberians including members of the opposition community have done.
Key amongst those who have been immunized include, Vice-President, Jewel Howard-Taylor, House Speaker, Bhofal Chambers, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former VP and his wife, Joseph N. Boakai and opposition Unity Party (UP) chairman, Armin Moda.
Others are Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah and Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francis Kerteh including several members and staffs of the House of Representatives as well as journalists, among others.
Speaking on Friday, when phone-in on the Ok Conversation, the President’s Deputy Spokesperson, among other things emphasized that the Liberian Chief Executive is not aiming at scoring any political gains against politicians over the taking of the vaccine, indicating, “So I see no need for Liberians to be frowning or getting mad because President Weah has not taken the vaccine,” Toby intimated.
Mr. Toby justified that President Weah is the President and a human who can make his personal decision as to when and where he will be immunized with the AstraZeneca vaccine, and as such, his health should not be politicized by politicians or Liberians in the country.
According to him, as to when President Weah will decide to be vaccinated becomes his own prerogative, adding, “Although everyone is entitled to his/her concern but for Liberians to be politicizing the President’s health of not being the first to be vaccinated is totally unfair and a disservice to him.”
He further stated, “As we are all aware that he is the first citizen of the country, that doesn’t also negate the fact that he also determines when and where he will get to be immunized.”
“The President is not afraid and the issue is not about why he hasn’t taken it but all I can say is that President Weah will decide as to when he will take the AstraZeneca vaccine,” Mr. Toby intoned.
Mr. Toby further alluded, “When the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the vaccine’s qualification, they did not tell the world that to set example or for it to be qualified, is for the President of a beneficiary country to be the first to take the vaccine.”
“So if the vaccine is in the country as a remedy to a global pandemic and the Head of State of the country is aware, he will determine as to when he takes the vaccine and not because others have done so. So the President will definitely take the vaccine at his own volition, and he has in no way discouraged anyone from being vaccinated,” Mr. Toby stressed.
“Weah Is In No Competition To Take Covid-19 Vaccine” …Says Deputy Press Secretary
By Bill W. Cooper