The National Coordinator Health and Care for the Nigerian Red Cross, Dr. Mannir Jega, has urged Nigerians to avoid shunning the COVID-19 vaccines to safeguard their health and that of others against the pandemic.
He gave the advice on Monday in Abuja at a Training on COVID 19- Risk Communication and Community Engagement Strategy organised by the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRSC).
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According to him, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has provided vaccine and also vaccination sites.
“But we have seen a lot of hesitancy. People are not willing to come out to be vaccinated as we speak now, we have millions of vaccines that are potentially going to expired, if not utilized.
“So, what are the causes of this hesitancy and that is why the Nigerian Red Cross is coming in, in its role as auxiliary to the government, and were now supporting the government to address this hesitancy to address the negative perception and to also improve optic of COVID-19 vaccination,” Jega said.
He said that the training of state officers and volunteers, was for them to go back to the various locations and conduct step down of their experience, and also to conduct house to house mobilization especially in those parts that the government informed them that the turnout is very low.
When asked why Nigeria is still talking about vaccination, when many countries in Europe and America are scaling down restrictions on the pandemic, Dr. Jega said that the vaccine distribution and administration in Nigeria is not comparable to some of the other countries that have achieve herd immunity over the larger percentage of their population that were vaccinated.
He said, “Some countries in America and in Europe has vaccinated over 80 percent of their populace, but in Nigeria were still around 20 percent coverage, In fact those are the people that only had the first shots of the vaccination.
“And you have seen drastically the reduction of mortality people have not been dying as it were before.”
The programme scheduled for between April and October, is having it focus in Bauchi, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Edo and Kogi states.
Since Nigeria recorded a first confirmed case of COVID-19 in February, 2020, a cumulative 255,606 cases have so far been confirmed, with 249,718 cases discharged and 3,142 deaths in 36 states and FCT.