COLUMN/OPINION

THIS FEAR OF COVID VACCINE, by Mahmud Jega

I had my first round of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccina dotion last Monday. Information on my card said I should come back for the second dose in June. I had braced myself for sharp pain because I had seen videos of a state governor gnashing his teeth, of a female commissioner screaming in anguish and of an SSG jumping in his chair when they received the jab. I was jittery when I saw the long vaccine needle. The nurse noticed my anxiety and assured me it wasn’t painful. She was right; I hardly realized the jab was over until I saw her moving away with the needle.

All over Nigeria, some people are expressing fears about getting the jab, even though it promises to be the final solution to the COVID malaise. Listening to the Doubting Thomases, they make several excuses. One is that the vaccine was produced in record time, unlike other drugs and vaccines that took years to produce. Another excuse, advanced by Governor Yahaya Bello, is that the Whiteman did not produce vaccines for malaria, Ebola, HIV, cancer and diabetes which claim far more lives, so why one for COVID?

A third reason, the best encouragement that our doubters got, was that some Western European countries temporarily suspended administering the vaccine. They quite possibly did so because of Brexit. Although they have now resumed it, the damage is done. Other people say they fear that the vaccine contains an anti-fertility agent to reduce our population growth, as if they have made the best use of our current population. The doubters got one more excuse last week when adulterated vaccines were rumoured to be on their way here from China.

Prof Shima Gyor, former Chief Medical Director of ABU Teaching Hospital and former Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, one of the most brilliant minds in Nigeria and together with Prof Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, one of the fathers of Nigeria’s primary health care revolution of the 1980s, provided the best answer last week to the vaccine doubters. If you haven’t read it, please search for his name on this website.

My own is to add a few lines as Viewed from the Gallery. It is true the Whiteman has not found vaccines for malaria, HIV and diabetes but that does not mean we should not be grateful if he found one for COVID. I take my cue here from a one-time British Defence Secretary. In 1999 he was doing a live BBC phone-in program on NATO air strikes to stop Serb genocide in Kosovo. A caller asked him why the West was concerned about genocide in Kosovo when it did nothing to stop the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The Brit minister sighed and said, “Just because you cannot help everybody does not mean you should not help somebody.”

Those who are old enough will remember the World Health Organisation [WHO] fumigation teams of the 1960s that tried to wipe out mosquito. Anyone of my generation only has to roll up his left shirt sleeve to reveal the evidence of three hot vaccinations that we had against childhood killer diseases. The vaccination machines of those days were quite big. Children shrieked when they saw them. Because of God’s grace and because of those jabs, most of my primary and secondary school classmates are still alive today, having escaped childhood killer diseases by the skin of our teeth. Ransome-Kuti and Gyor further refined them in the 1980s into ORT and EPI, which saved millions of kids’ lives and, on the flip side, accelerated our population growth.

For more than 100 years we Africans consumed medicines and vaccines that we got from Western countries, later from China and India. They helped us to fight malaria, leprosy, smallpox, diarrhea, cholera and measles. Rather than make us infertile, they reduced mortality and helped our population to grow by leaps and bounds during the colonial period and beyond. With respect to their imperialist designs, Westerners have been forward-looking for centuries. Thomas Malthus first alerted them in 1798 that human population could one day become a problem. If they didn’t inject anti-fertility agents into vaccines for 220 years, I doubt if they woke up now and injected it into COVID vaccine.

If any case, there are multiple other agents under the firm control of Western chemists, pharmacists and food engineers that they could have injected with birth control agents. These are things that we have come to value so much that we buy them with our own money. They include Tom Tom, Miki Miki, Nasco and Nico sweets; Bounty, Mars, Twix, Eclairs and Snickers chocolates; Coca Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Pepsi, Mirinda, Seven Up, Crush, Tango and Maltina soft drinks; Panadol, paracetamol, cafenol, quinine and APC tablets; Benylin and codeine syrups; Robb, Hacogen and Mentholatum ointments; Andrews liver salt; Family and St Louis sugar; Peak, Dano and Cowbell milk; Golden Penny macaroni, spaghetti and couscous; Idomie noodles; Lipton, Green and other teas; coffee; Titus sardine; Mackerel tinned fish; Omo and Elephant detergents; Imperial Leather, Lux, Joy, GIV and Palm Olive soaps; MacLean’s, Pepsodent, Daily Need and Close Up toothpastes; Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, Sweet Menthol and Marlboro cigarettes as well as Star, Harp, Rock, Gulder, Stout and Heineken beers.

The Whiteman had all these chemical tools under his firm control, yet wasted his time hiding an infertility agent in Covid vaccine, for which you must go to a vaccination center, when you could be made to buy it with your own money from a street corner shop? I am not a fan of the Whiteman, but he is not as dumb as that.

VIEW FROM THE GALLERY in 21st Century Chronicle today Monday, March 29, 2021.

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