Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong has called on citizens of the State to shun any form of propaganda emanating from different quarters especially the social media against the COVID-19 vaccines brought into the country.
The governor stated this after he was administered a jab of the vaccine at the launch of the COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign, at the new Government House Clinic Jos, Plateau State North Central Nigeria.
Speaking after receiving the jab, the governor said the gesture was to reassure Plateau residents that the vaccine is safe and effective.
He said the vaccination was an indication of progress in defeating the pandemic, saying it was necessary to dissuade the conspiracy theories aimed at discouraging people from receiving the vaccine.
“It is important to note that the vaccine had been approved by the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organisation, based on global clinical trials involving 23,000 participants.
“In addition, Nigerian regulators such as NAFDAC evaluated the vaccines upon arrival in the country. All of these evaluations have concluded that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective,” he said.
The governor charged traditional, religious and political leaders, to augment government efforts in its awareness and sensitisation campaigns across the 17 Local Government Areas, on the administration of the vaccine.
He said health workers have been trained to ensure efficiency in the inoculation procedure, adding that one hundred and two locations have been designated for the exercise.
“For the first phase, we have designated 102 locations where the vaccines will be administered in all the Local Government Areas of Plateau State. Those to be covered are frontline health workers and those on essential duties.
“The second phase will capture the elderly (50 years and above) and people with underlying illnesses. Every other eligible person will be captured in the third phase. We hope to increase the vaccination centres in the State to about 700 in subsequent phases.
“Let me reiterate that no one will be compelled to take the vaccine as the administration is totally voluntary,” he added.
He said taking the vaccine should not be a licence of abandoning the non-pharmaceutical protocols of the disease, saying the vaccine supply to cover the entire population would be supplied in instalments.
“It is my hope that while we continue with this vaccination, NAFDAC will give approval to the submission by the Plateau State COVID-19 Medical Research Team so that we can have our home-grown remedy for containing the pandemic,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Nimkong Lar said the state received One Hundred and five thousand six hundred doses of the vaccine, explaining that it would be given in 2 doses.
He also stated that the second dose would be given after eight to 12 weeks, adding that health workers trained on its administration, would follow up on recipients of the vaccination.
He thanked the World Health Organisation, United Nations International Children Emergency Fund,(UNICEF) and the National Health Care Development Board for supporting the state in training and other interventions.
Voice of Nigeria reports that the Wife of the governor, Mrs Regina Lalong, the Deputy Governor, Prof Sonni Tyoden, the Ag-General Commanding Officer, 3 Div. Brig. Gen Bello Mohammed and the Commander, Operation SafeHaven Taskforce, Maj. Gen. Dominic Onyemuu received the jab.
Other recipients were the Executive Secretary of the Plateau State Primary Health Care Board, Dr Livinus Miapkwap, Representative of Pankshin/Kanam/Kanke, Federal Constituency, Hon. Yusuf Gagdi, religious and traditional leaders and other top government officials, Security chiefs.
Source: Voice of Nigeria