Niger Records Low Turnout of COVID-19 Vaccination

0
FILE PHOTO: Dr Ngong Cyprian receives his first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine from Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, at the National hospital in Abuja, Nigeria, March 5, 2021. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo

Laleye Dipo in Minna

The local government COVID-19 vaccination in Niger State, which started Wednesday, last week, has been recording very low turnout of people.

Initially, the vaccination was scheduled to start on Monday but was shifted to Wednesday as a result of what one of the officials in charge of the programme said was “technical reason”.

Despite the campaign mounted by the committee charged with the responsibility of carrying out the exercise, only a few people are turning out to receive the jabs.

THISDAY was told that in the 22 local government areas, where the vaccination is holding, only persons with plans to travel out of the country are submitting themselves for the jabs.

“Those that are coming out for vaccination are intending pilgrims to Mecca and Jerusalem,” a source said.

“You see these people are coming out for vaccination because it is mandatory for them to get visa without the Covid-19 vaccination certificate they will not be issued with visas.”

According to findings, the people are not willing to submit themselves for the vaccination because of fears it could have negative effect on them.

Rafi, Munya and Shiroro Local Governments were not included in areas where people are to be vaccinated following the activities of bandits in the council areas.

It was gathered in Minna, the state capital, that the state Director of Vaccines and Immunology, Dr. Samuel Jiya, is heading the campaign, while one person per local government has been engaged to carry out the exercise.

The local government facilitators were picked from among members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and some health personnel after a thorough screening.

THISDAY further learnt that the exercise will last 10 days from last Wednesday, while only 1% of the population will be vaccinated but with the reluctance of people to come out for vaccination, the period could be extended.

A senior official in the Ministry of Health, who confirmed this story on condition of anonymity, also said front line workers, security operatives, public officers and local government staff would be the first to be vaccinated under the arrangement.

The state has been allocated 77,000 doses of the Astrazeneca vaccines with the state Governor, Dr Abubakar Sani Bello, his deputy, Ahmed Mohammed Ketso, commissioners and Government House staff being the first to be vaccinated over a week ago.