The Federal Government has stated that no state or individual will be forced to accept or take the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine.
This position was revealed by the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora in reaction to the declaration by the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello that he won’t take the vaccine.
Bello also added that the state has more important issues to deal with than COVID-19, stating that he won’t allow residents of the state to be used as Guinea Pigs.
Mamora when he featured on Tuesday during a Punch live interview, stressed that the COVID-19 vaccine won’t be forced on anyone.
He argued that the doses received by the federal government are not sufficient to go round at the moment hence, only states that are willing and ready will be given the vaccine.
The minister said, “We have to weigh all that is involved. We are not going to compel anyone to take the vaccines. We are also conscious of the fact that even as at now, we don’t have enough vaccines.
“So, in essence, if a state through the governor or through any other person in that position says that we don’t want the vaccines in their states, we will not force that.
“Our priority will go to states that are willing and are ready and have even made request to make the vaccines. Even the Bible says, ‘Ask and it shall be given’. We will give to those states that have requested for it. If a state decides not to ask for it, we are not going to compel such a state to ask for it.”
It will be recalled that Nigeria received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines (about 4 million doses) last week Tuesday and the National vaccination programme commenced on Friday.
Already, President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and many other top government functionaries have been vaccinated.
Some states including Lagos, Ogun and others have also received their shares of the vaccine.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has said that President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo were vaccinated on Live TV to demonstrate the safety of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine.
The government stated that eligible Nigerians will also be vaccinated with the same vaccine type administered to the president and his deputy.
Speaking on Monday, March 8 at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, reiterated that the first and second Nigerian citizens were administered the vaccines live on tv to allay fears in some quarters about the health implications of taking the vaccine.