The Nigerian government says it will strongly collaborate with religious and traditional leaders, to convince more citizens to take the Covid-19 vaccine.
Executive Secretary of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib made the disclosure at the weekly ministerial press briefing organized by the Presidential Communication Team.
The NPHCDA Chief Executive assured Nigerians that the vaccine is safe, as he called on those who have not yet taken to do so.
Shuaib noted that many conspiracy theories are going on pertaining to the Covid-19 vaccine but none is true as he stressed that the vaccine is safe because it has been scientifically proven as safe for use by humans.
He revealed that already over 1.9 million Nigerians have so far taken the first jab of the vaccine while over 148 thousand have taken the second jab.
“In terms of specific numbers, as of today, 1, 961, 883, of the targeted eligible Nigerians have been vaccinated with their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Similarly, about 148, 258 Nigerians have already received their second doses across the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja,” he said.
The Executive Secretary said Nigerians should embrace the community ownership of the vaccination exercise, as the Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Christian Association of Nigeria have accepted to help.
He said: “We are being proactive by inviting families to say ok, we are going to give the Covid-19 vaccine for free and in line with this, we are also using the fact that our traditional and religious leaders were very critical towards making sure that there is community ownership of the Polio eradication drive.
“So, we understand there are people who have doubts about the vaccine. We are engaging with religious leaders through platforms such as the Nigerian Interfaith Action Association, led by the Sultan of Sokoto on the Muslim side and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, to see how correct information about the vaccination can be provided to all Nigerians.”
Mild side effects
Dr Shuaib also informed Journalists that there have been mild cases of side effects from those who have taken the vaccine.
“We have a total of 10, 027 mild cases of adverse events following the immunization, which include symptoms such as swelling or mild pain at the site of the injection.
“We have also had up to 86 cases of moderate to severe adverse events following the immunization; people who said they had fever, headaches, diarrhoea, some had dizziness and there are a few people who said they felt like fainting.
“These are within the spectrum of the potential side effects that people can face after they take the vaccination,” Dr Shuaib explained.
The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu said the country is steadfast in handling the Covid-19 situation, despite the successes already recorded.