Mar 20, 2021

We wont force Nigerians to take vaccine Sultan
Barely one week after the suspension of the use of AstraZeneca vaccine to check COVID-19, European countries on Friday recommenced its use, dousing apprehension that its not associated with a higher risk of blood clots.
The assurances were announced in a statement by the Head (Public Relations Unit) of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Mohammed Ohitoto, on behalf of its Executive Director, Dr Faisal Shuaib.
The statement was titled: EU medical regulator announces AstraZeneca is safe, no indicated link to blood clots European countries restart use of AstraZeneca today.
Ohitoto said, The European Medical Agency released the findings of its report examining cases of blood clotting; it determined that the AstraZeneca vaccine is not associated with a higher risk of blood clots.
Following a thorough and scientific investigation, the EMA reaffirmed the vaccine is safe and effective. Countries across Europe, including Germany, France and Spain, are today resuming administering the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The World Health Organisation also reaffirmed the safety and efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine, along with the UK medical regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
The UK also reports it has not observed increased rates of blood clotting, and the UK has administered the highest number of AstraZeneca vaccines globally by a significant margin, to more than one-third of its population.
According to the Executive Director/CEO National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA,  Dr Faisal Shuaib, EMAs findings and the restart of AstraZeneca use in Europe is very good news which we hope will entirely reassure all Nigerians who have been concerned in recent days as we followed the developments in European countries.
Frances Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced he will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine today, Friday. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also announced he will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine today, Friday. The Head of the EMA, Emer Cooke, has personally and publicly confirmed that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective.
While reaffirming that the health and safety of the Nigerian citizens was the priority, Shuaib added that, administering safe and effective vaccines is a vital component in solving the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regulators and vaccine safety experts have a duty to investigate if an adverse effect is detected in order to determine whether it is caused by the vaccine, he added.
Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammadu Saad Abubakar III, who was at the event, said the council would not force anyone to take the vaccine.
He, however, said all political office holders must first take the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine before the common man on the street, saying they (political office holders) had to be protected and saved first from the pandemic.
At the sensitisation meeting with Muslim scholars and imams on the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in Abuja, Abubakar said, All political leaders must take the vaccine first before the common man on the street because they are our leaders and they have to be protected first. They have to be saved first from any pandemic. It is when they are strong, healthy, and alive that they will now take our country to greater heights.
There are those who do not believe in the vaccine or that COVID-19 even exists, but we believe because we have lost many of our close friends and family members. It is important for us in advocating to let people know that yes, COVID-19 is there and yes, there is a possibility of getting out of it. But it is left for you to act on it.
It is left for you to want to take the vaccine because we will not force you. We only advise you and try to appeal to you as we did with the polio vaccine decades ago and today we are polio-free.
Also at the event, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the AstraZeneca vaccine was the best in protecting Nigerians from COVID-19.
As far as the 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 continents of the world and there is no side effect. About 17 million doses of the vaccine have administered globally and 37 cases of blood clotting have been reported which is very insignificant, he said.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, advised Nigerians not to let down their guard, as some countries were already experiencing a third wave of the pandemic.
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 recognise that we are not yet out of the woods. The PTF shall continue to emphasise and promote the strict adherence to the NPIs (non-pharmaceutical interventions) and for people to take the vaccines, he said.
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