In Maiduguri 37 schools shut down after monkeypox vaccine rumour spreads

Parents thronged to their children's schools to withdraw them from the premises against the advice of authorities.

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There is no vaccine for the virus, but that of smallpox seems to work sometimes. play The panic about forced monkeypox vaccination does not appear to be going away (omojuwa.com)
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About 37 public schools in Maiduguri closed before official closing hours after rumours spread that students were being forcefully injected with killer monkeypox vaccines in schools in the Borno state capital on Wednesday, October 18, 2017.

This was revealed by the executive chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Shettima Kullima, as parents reportedly thronged to their children's schools to withdraw them from the premises against the advice of authorities who tried to convince them there was no cause for alarm.

According to a report by Premium Times, some parents had to break down gate barriers and engage in physical violence to retrieve their children to the safety of their homes.

According to a member of the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), "It was really chaotic there as the parents began to break doors and throw stones at the teachers whom they accused of plotting to inject their kids with monkeypox causing vaccines."

The same rumours of forceful vaccinations also made the rounds in Anambra State, Rivers State, Ondo State, Kwara State and a few others with parents also withdrawing their children from school premises after reports of soldiers forcefully injecting students with unknown substances.

On Tuesday, October 17, the Nigerian Army was forced to deny the rumours after parents in Port Harcourt and Akure reportedly withdrew their children from school premises.

In a statement released by Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, he condemned the "callous and unpatriotic rumours" deliberately spread by "enemies of state" to cause unrest with the public.

Colonel Iliyasu said the army would not embark on any medical exercise without seeking the consent of the relevant parties, and emphasised that such an exercise would not take place in schools.

ALSO READ: Army denies forcefully vaccinating students in Rivers

After Wednesday's Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole said the military is not involved in any vaccination as was being rumoured.

He said, "The military is not involved in any vaccination and I must also really educate the Nigeria people about how vaccination campaigns are done.

"The Federal Government will take the lead but we do not conduct campaigns without working with states.

"So, there is no way we will do campaigns without working with the states and it is the states that will be in front and we provide support.

"The rumour that the Federal Government is doing (monkey pox) vaccination campaign is not true. And as of today, we are only doing vaccination campaign in three states.

"We are doing vaccination campaign against yellow fever in Kwara and Kogi states because of yellow fever outbreak in some parts of the country. We are also doing cholera vaccination in Borno State.

"So anybody carrying the rumour, please help us educate Nigerians that it is not true, we are not vaccinating anybody, we plan to do measles campaign very soon and we will also do yellow fever before the end of the year and we will let you know.

"You will never find federal staff conducting vaccination campaign without the support and active participation of the state ministry of health. This is just to correct the misconception."

The recent monkeypox outbreak has started to cause a panic as Prof. Adewole also confirmed on Wednesday that there were 74 suspected cases of the virus across 11 states, with confirmed positive cases recorded only in Bayelsa State.

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