By DEBORAH MUSA, Abuja
The Federal government has put plans in place for Christians who have been unable to get vaccinated for whatever reasons, to be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at their worship centres
Government disclosed that the Sunday service Covid-19 Vaccine administration exercise will commence with the ongoing Phase 2 of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out
The Executive Director/ Chief Executive Officer, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Dr Faisal Shuaib made this known on Tuesday during his remark at the sensitization of Christian Leaders on phase 2 Covid-19 vaccination and primary healthcare in Nigeria where he appreciated the spiritual directors for their support in all of it’s primary healthcare intervention programmes
Shuaib mentioned how their support got them through with a successful result in the time of polio eradication programme when they were met with high rate of refusal to vaccination from the people because of rumours and misinformation
Dr Shuaib also stated that the agency is working with the States, as special arrangement for corporate vaccination has been put in place to enable eligible staff of Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), Private/corporate organizations, including Faith-based organizations, their family members, dependants, and retirees get vaccinated at their convenience.
He said “Your Eminence, the CAN President, distinguished Christian leaders, ladies, and gentlemen, I am glad to inform you that from this Phase 2 of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out, we have introduced Sunday Vaccination. This is to ensure members of the Christian community who may not have had access to the vaccine for whatever reason are given an opportunity to be vaccinated at their worship places
“Christian Leaders across the country have been formidable pillars of support in all our primary health care interventions. I am aware that in the States and LGAs, representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria are strong and committed members of the State and LGA Task Forces on Immunization.
“These ambassadors have contributed immensely to confidence building and trust in Government led public health programs, especially in the days of the Nigeria polio eradication program when we were battling with high rate of refusals to vaccination due to rumors and misinformation.
“Suffice to say that the Christian community contributed immensely to our achieving wild polio virus certification last year and indeed our sustaining the country’s polio free status for over a year now. We are most grateful as a people and Government
“Also, working with the States, we have made special arrangement for corporate vaccination. This is for eligible staff of Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), Private/corporate organizations, including Faith-based organizations, their family members, dependants, and retirees to be vaccinated at their convenience”
The Minister of state for health, senator Adeleke Mamora in his speech said that the Christian community has been in the forefront of supporting all health initiatives. The Christian community is known for high uptake of vaccines. But we must ask ourselves, why is it different with Covid-19? Why are some of the leaders falling prey to misinformation and rumours?
Mamora explained that there was nothing to fear when it comes to taking the Covid-19 vaccines as Covid-19 vaccination Like other vaccinations are meant to prevent people from vaccine preventable diseases.
He reminded all that “We have a collective responsibility to protect ourselves and our community from Covid-19”
Speaking further, mamora warned that Covid-19 is real and persons who are thinking in the opposite should have a re-think and take the vaccines
“Don’t let anybody deceive you, Covid-19 is real. We get the figures, we get the reports. The deadly delta variant is killing people who are not vaccinated. What the global community has recorded is that the people who are admitted because of Covid are the unvaccinated ones all over the world and in Nigeria it’s not different.
“The good thing is that all the various vaccines we have are all effective even against the delta variant. Let us avoid the needless deaths, the vaccines are approved by WHO
“May I humbly remind you the Christian leaders that as spiritual leaders, you are to guide your followers. I want you to task your leaders, your followers and encourage them to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, educate them to get vaccinated against COVID-19” Mamora said
Speaking earlier, The Executive Director, Nigerian inter-faith Action association, Dr Sunday Onouha in his welcome address noted that the Christian Association is ready to work with the government to defeat covid just like it happened with polio
He stated that as people managers, who are accorded high level of respect and trust, it is a good thing that the government has involved them in the fight against the pandemic
“As people managers, the thing about people managers is that when we are talking, nobody says point of observation, nobody says point of order, when we are speaking, everybody keeps quiet including the Ministers and the president
“They wait until we finish everything we want to say, that is why it is good in this kind of pandemic we are in, we bring in those people who have this very privilege to manage the people
“At the end of the day, we have moral obligation, we have responsibility as a people for the health of our people
“As clergies we may not be doctors or health Physicians but people trust us with their lives, seeing as people have given us trust, we must not betray them, we must give them sound education on what to do and what not to do”