Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo, on Thursday, flagged off mass COVID-19 vaccination in the state.
Uzodimma, who performed the flag-off in Owerri, urged residents of the state to ignore conspiracy theories behind the vaccine, and avail themselves of the opportunity to get vaccinated.
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his pragmatic approach to the fight against the pandemic and pledged his commitment to slowing down the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The governor said that his government had established the Imo State Task Force on COVID-19 and made massive investments in the best Isolation Centres in the country.
He added that he had bought state-of-the-art ambulances and other protective equipment and critical medics that helped in making Imo record the lowest cases of the virus both in Nigeria and in the South-East geo-political zone.
“COVID-19 tested the capability and capacity of the Shared Prosperity Government in Imo but thanks to God and my team, as well as the health workers that worked assiduously to fight the pandemic that made Imo record the least number of deaths.
“To achieve greater number of people being vaccinated, there is obvious need to go beyond allowing the vaccination to be left in the hands of National Primary Health-care agency alone.
“We remain resolved to protect Imo citizens against all diseases, viruses and pandemics both now and in future as the vaccination from this day will be taken to the masses at the community level.
“The services of health workers are more needed now than ever as the vaccination moves to the communities with a larger percentage of the population,” he said.
He further thanked the United States Embassy for the particular interest it showed in Imo by providing technical man-power and training that helped to ensure the success of the flag-off.
Speaking, state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Prosper Ohayagha, said that in an effort to carry out a successful community mass vaccination, the Ministry, in collaboration with support groups, had trained a critical mass of man-power as well as volunteers in various pillars of response at both the state and local government levels.
He noted that the Community Mass Vaccination supersedes the earlier strategies deployed in achieving COVID-19 pandemic control, re-emphasizing that “the vaccines are safe and effective”.
In various virtual goodwill messages, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth-Leonard, and the Deputy Chief of Mission, Kathleen FitzGibbon, commended the governor for his rare leadership traits and commitment to the well being of Imo people through different initiatives in the health sector.