“It’s good to be vaccinated, it can protect you from the virus”

Jenebah Celine Marrah, Student, Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone

A young woman sitting with her textbooks on her lap
UNICEF 2022/UN0628912/Rooftop
22 April 2022

“At first I was hesitant, but I came to realize that it was good for me to get vaccinated. When I got home I told them [my family] that I was vaccinated and they were scared. They asked me ‘why did you get vaccinated?’ I told them it’s good to be vaccinated, it can protect you from the virus.”

Jenebah Marrah, a student at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, awoke one morning to find herself immobile, unable to report for classes or even visit friends. A COVID-19 outbreak had triggered a lockdown, and everything had come to a halt.

Jenebah, who enjoys hanging out with her friends on campus and working on her academics, remained rooted in her home for several months.

“We had a lockdown on schools, colleges and universities. Things were not like before, it was very difficult to cope with the situation, people were not communicating as before and it was not easy to adapt.”

A young woman sitting outside, cutting vegetables into a big bowl
UNICEF 2022/UN0628898/Rooftop

COVID-19 cases in Sierra Leone continued to rise, with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) reporting a total of 6,983 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 123 deaths, and 4,490 recoveries as of 31 December 2021.

Jenebah realized that COVID-19 was a serious virus and decided to get vaccinated, despite the fact that most of the people around her were hesitant to get the vaccine.

“When new cases of COVID-19 started to rise, and the vaccines became available, I decided to get vaccinated to protect myself and my family from getting the virus.”

Jenebah returned to college with her vaccination card in hand, embarking on a journey to help spread a positive message about the COVID-19 vaccine.

“There were rumours that if you took the vaccine, you would die. People were scared. So I told them; look at me, I have taken the vaccine and I am normal. I had to convince them, I said look whatever rumours you hear about the vaccine is not true. You have to realize that prevention is better than cure. Then some of my friends did get vaccinated.”

Jenebah's journey continues as she rallies more people to get vaccinated one by one.

I feel good and I feel proud that I have convinced people. I feel that I have accomplished something important in letting people know the reason of getting vaccinated.

Jenebah Celine Marrah
A young woman talking to a fellow member of her community
UNICEF 2022/UN0628905/Rooftop

Jenebah has this advice for those who are still on the fence: "Get vaccinated and take COVID-19 prevention measures."