Taking COVID-19 vaccine is a matter of civic duty, says Health Minister

The minister says it's the collective responsibility of citizens to protect lives and livelihoods.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, receiving COVID-19 vaccine jab [Twitter/@NphcdaNG]

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has said that taking the COVID-19 vaccine was a matter of civic duty.

Ehanire stated this at a National Press briefing by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja.

The minister said that the pandemic was still active and it was the collective responsibility of citizens to protect lives and livelihoods.

He said, "The dreaded COVID-19 pandemic is still active and, at intervals, we hear of persons lost to the illness, including some prominent names in our community.

"It is up to us to rise up as a collective responsibility to protect the lives and livelihoods of citizens against it and mitigate its destructive impact on families and the national economy.

"The most reliable tool to protect ourselves and our families, remains first of all, compliance with now established public health measures, and secondly the delivery of vaccines to citizens.

"Workers and members of the public who are in close settings like NYSC camps, hospitals, offices and hostels are particularly exposed and must be a priority for vaccination.

"Especially in view of the very easily transmissible Delta variant and growing evidence that persons not vaccinated are at higher risk of death from COVID-19 infection than the vaccinated.

"Taking the vaccine is also not just for self-protection, but a civic duty to curtail virus spread."

The minister expressed gratitude to countries who have contributed vaccine doses to Nigeria.

"On behalf of the Government, I express appreciation to countries who've been generously contributing to our vaccines stock, and so helping us fight COVID-19.

"The US government has donated over four million doses of Moderna vaccine so far, which arrived through the COVAX facility.

"We got almost 1.3 million AstraZeneca doses from UK government on August 16 and August 26, as well as 1.3 million doses of Johnson & Johnson from the African Union out of 29,850,000 doses procured.

"The Canadian government also donated over 800,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine.

"With such availability of vaccines, the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination took off in all 36 states and the FCT," Ehanire said.

The minister therefore urged those who have taken their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine to get the second dose from the nearest designated health facility.

He said that observations from other countries was that over 90 per cent of COVID-19 case fatalities nowadays were persons who did not take the COVID-19 vaccine at all and therefore had no protection.

"Whereas the vaccinated can be COVID infected, they are not likely to fall ill, but they can infect others, and close non vaccinated friends and relatives, who can get very ill, possibly lose their lives.

"There is fatigue in wearing face mask and observing social distancing etc in various countries, including Nigeria.

"We have under 5 per cent vaccination so far, we need to endure the fight even more than countries with over 50 per cent; so, I appeal to everyone to endorse, support and encourage vaccination all over the country.

"Procured or donated vaccines are approved by WHO, tested by NAFDAC and other regulators and certified efficacious and safe.

"NPHCDA is training private sector providers to administer vaccines, including companies and private clinics. government health centers are to be included," he added.

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