Nigerians who are yet to get vaccinated against COVID-19 have been advised to do so.
Medical experts and relevant health institutions say doing so is important because vaccination protects the individual and other people around them.
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A renowned virologist, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, said people should get vaccinated against COVID-19 because it protects them from getting sick and the spread of the disease. It will also protect your loved ones and your community.”
“COVID-19 vaccine does not also alter DNA as peddled by some people. It triggers an immune response that will protect your body against the virus if encountered.
“Once you and your community members are protected, the chances of the spread of the disease are reduced,” he said.
He said COVID-19 vaccines are safe and have been duly certified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) before being administered to people in the country.
The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, said a vaccine is a reliable and proven tool for prevention and control of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19.
Speaking at one of the agency’s COVID-19 vaccination updates, he said a vaccine works by stimulating the immune system to induce immune cells and proteins, called antibodies that confer immunity or protection against disease.
He said: “The mRNA technology used to develop the new coronavirus vaccines has been in development for almost two decades. Scientists developed the technology to help respond quickly to pandemics, such as COVID-19.
“It is therefore ridiculous when the anti-vaccination campaigners claim that COVID-19 alters the human DNA or that people will die in two weeks or two years after vaccination.”
While urging Nigerians to get vaccinated, he said no death has been recorded from COVID-19 vaccination in the country.
“This should further serve to convince everyone that COVID-19 vaccines are safe,” he added.
UNICEF Nigeria Representative, Dr. Peter Hawkins, said every Nigerian has a role in stemming the COVID-19 pandemic by getting vaccinated, promoting vaccination, and observing the COVID-19 safety prevention measures.
According to the WHO, vaccines are designed to give immunity without the danger of contracting the disease.
The organisation said it is common to experience some mild-to-moderate side effects after receiving vaccinations. “This is because your immune system is instructing your body to react in certain ways: it increases blood flow so more immune cells can circulate, and it raises your body temperature in order to kill the virus.
“Mild-to-moderate side effects, like a low-grade fever or muscle aches, are normal and not a cause for alarm: they are signs that the body’s immune system is responding to the vaccine, specifically the antigen (a substance that triggers an immune response), and is gearing up to fight the virus.
“These side effects usually go away on their own after a few days,” WHO said.
It said reported side effects of COVID-19 vaccines have mostly been mild to moderate and have lasted no longer than a few days.