COVID-19: Nigerian govt extends vaccination campaign to churches

The Nigerian government has introduced COVID-19 vaccination exercise to worship centres across the country.

The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, who disclosed this during a meeting with the leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Abuja on Tuesday, said it was part of the efforts to increase vaccination coverage against the virus in the country.

Mr Shauib said the move is to ensure that members of the religious communities who have not had access to the COVID-19 vaccine are allowed to be vaccinated at their worship places.

“I am glad to inform you that from this second phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, we have introduced Sunday vaccination.

“I must say that feedback from the field is very encouraging and I sincerely thank all Christian leaders who have given the vaccination team access to their churches and their members to receive COVID-19 vaccine during Sunday services,” he said.

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Support

Mr Shuaib said the Christian leaders across the country have been formidable pillars of support in all primary health care interventions and also in the elimination of the polio virus.

“Suffice to say that the Christian community contributed immensely to our achieving wild poliovirus certification last year and indeed our sustaining the country’s polio-free status for over a year now.

“I am aware that in the states and LGAs, representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria are strong and committed members of the Task Forces on Immunization,” he said.

He explained that arrangements have been made for corporate vaccination of eligible staff of Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), Private/corporate organisations, including faith-based organisation, their family members, dependants, and retirees to be vaccinated at their convenience.

Speaking at the briefing, the minister of state for health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, urged Christian leaders to mobilise their members for vaccination.

He noted that the only way Nigerians can reciprocate the efforts of the government in securing the health of the populace was to access the vaccines provided.

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“The highly dreaded delta variants are here with us, hence we must mobilise our congregation to quickly take the vaccines so that the government can get more,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the Christian leaders, the Executive Director, Nigeria Inter Faith Action Association, Sunday Onuorah, appealed to Christian leaders to partner with the government in promoting the vaccination campaign.

He said faith leaders were in a position to address misinformation while enhancing public health impact.

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“We are here because we know that faith leaders have the capacity and authority to effect a change of mind and drive acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines,” he said.

Nigeria’s vaccination campaign

As of Monday, over 1.6 million eligible persons have been fully vaccinated against the rampaging coronavirus.

Mr Shuaib said 1,692,315 persons have received two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines, as approved by the World Health Organisation(WHO).

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He also said, 4,052,756 eligible Nigerians have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines.

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This is made up of 2,645,020 persons with the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and 1,407,736 persons with first dose of moderna vaccine.

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