By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-Even as reactions continue to trail the use of Astrazeneca vaccine in the country,the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has said it was the best in protecting Nigerians from getting infected with Coronavirus.
Speaking at the sensitisation meeting of Muslim scholars and Imams on COVID-19 vaccine rollout on Friday in Abuja, the minister also noted that about 17 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine has so far been administered in over 70 countries across the six continents.
He urged political and religious leaders to openly take the vaccine to boost the confidence of Nigerians on the safety of the vaccine.
He said: “There is a lot of misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccines but I want to assure you as has been confirmed by the European Medicine Agency and also by NAFDAC that the vaccine is safe.
“Most of our leaders have taken the vaccine, our religious and traditional leaders have also endorsed this vaccine, there are also Embassies and Ambassadors that have come to us to ask for this vaccine because they cannot go back home to take it.
“This vaccine has virtually passed all the quality test by the WHO and NAFDAC. The two organizations have given the AstraZeneca vaccine a clean bill of health.
“As far as government is concerned, AstraZeneca vaccine is the best so far, it is what we are using and it is working for us. The vaccine is being used in over 70 countries in six continent of the world and there is no side effect. About 17 million doses of the vaccine has administered globally and 37 cases of blood clothing has been reported which is very insignificant.
“Although NPHCDA and state governments have put in place security measures to secure the vaccine, we also ask everybody to be vigilant about its use, safe keeping and to report any negative activities to the Police or Ministry of Health.”
Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha who advised Nigerians not to let their guards down, as some countries were already experiencing a third wave of the pandemic, charged the scholars and religious leaders to use their exalted positions to drive the vaccination campaign in order to help Nigeria achieve herd immunity to the virus.
“I wish to reiterate that the virus is very potent and people still get infected. It has been reported that some countries are recording a third wave of cases. I therefore urge all Nigerians to recognize that we are not yet out of the woods. The PTF shall continue to emphasise and promote the strict adherence to the NPIs and for people to take the vaccines.
“Another and more lasting layer of prevention is the COVID-19 Vaccination rollout to enable us achieve herd immunity so that we can have our lives back to normal. As leaders of the Islamic faith and custodians of the people’s religious values, have a great role to play in guiding our people aright.”