“Love your family? Get vaccinated”
Olufemi Williams, Band Leader, Sierra Leone
“I decided to take the vaccine because of my family. My brother and some family members took the vaccine, so I decided that I should not be left out.”
In Sierra Leone, Olufemi Williams, the leader of Suxxon band, witnessed the devastation caused by COVID-19 lockdowns. “In my community we are like family – we play together, shake hands, hug, but it wasn’t happening. It was so lonely and boring.”
The lockdown was a life-changing experience that convinced Olufemi that vaccination was critical to COVID-19 prevention. “COVID-19 disturbed our band, it disturbed our performance because we were not able to play,” he explained. “When I heard about the vaccine, I saw hope again.”
He recently received his COVID-19 vaccine and was looking forward to rolling up his sleeve and getting the shot because he knows it's the best way to protect himself, his family, and his band from COVID-19. “I am so happy to have the vaccine, I feel good. I would like people to get vaccinated for their own good.”
Nonetheless, he noticed that many people were hesitant to get vaccinated because they were afraid of the vaccine. Olufemi had to persuade a lot of his band members to get vaccinated.
I would say hey guys let’s get vaccinated, it’s really about us, because we are meeting different types of people.
"We are travelling, we are going to the province and back where we interact with a lot of people, we don’t know who has the virus, so let’s have the vaccine.”
Slowly but steadily, Olufemi has noticed a shift in his band members' attitudes toward the COVID-19 vaccine, and he is excited to see that some of them have been vaccinated.
“I have told them I am vaccinated and I have shown them my card. I tell them to get vaccinated,” he said. “Some of them have already taken the vaccine and I am happy for them.”