Special Report: Nigerians express mixed feelings towards COVID-19 vaccine jab

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Many Nigerians express scepticism over covid-19 vaccines

Others believe vaccine is a scam

By Joyce Remi-Babayeju

Following the arrival of the AstraZeneca COVId-19 vaccines into the country on Tuesday 2 March 2021, and the subsequent launch of the T.E.A.C.H strategy campaign by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, the majority of Nigerians in the priority group have expressed mixed feelings towards getting the vaccines jab.

The majority have expressed worry about why the Federal Government is “wasting” money on the importation of huge vaccines which many will eventually reject. Others just dismiss the vaccines as a subtle scam.

In a random interview carried out by Daybreak after the arrival of the vaccine in Abuja, the majority of Nigerians who spoke with our correspondent said that they do not trust the chemical components and potency of the vaccine and that rather government should harness the homegrown herbs as an alternative to foreign vaccines.

 

Apostle Adewale Adelekan, an indigene of Ogun State said, ” Importation of millions of doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine into the country by the Federal Government is a welcome development to curtail the fears of the pandemic, but I do not support the use of vaccines from foreign countries to cure people with COVID-19 in Nigeria.

As an individual, I will never take the vaccine jab because I do not trust the chemical components of the vaccine.

Adelekan argued that Nigeria is blessed with natural herbs and the manpower to manufacture effective vaccines to cure COVID-19, adding that the elites are behind the Importation of the vaccine.

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The Apostle emphasized his belief in local herbs for effective cure of every kind of ailments and diseases including the COVID-19 which he said the West has to turn into global propaganda.

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A housewife, Mrs Fatima Yahaha is also of the opinion that she will never get the vaccine jab because she does not believe in it.  “It is fake.’

There are reports of fake vaccines already in circulation before the government imported their own, so what is the difference with this one? she asked.

 

“We have natural herbs in Nigeria to cure Coronavirus and every other disease. What they are calling COVID-19 is just malaria plus Typhoid which has long been in our clime, adding that government ought to educate  citizens on the chemical components of the vaccine before they will accept it.”

I  shall not be injected with what I am not sure of, she said.

Yahaya like many Nigerians still does not believe in the escalating COVID-19 figures churned out by NCDC daily.

According to her, the daily escalating figures announced every day is also fake.

 

Miss Ogechi Ndukpo, a Masters Degree student at the University of Abuja, told Daybreak that she is still sceptical about receiving the  COVID-19 vaccine jab because she is not sure that it is safe, due to the hasty manner in which the vaccines were manufactured and imported into Nigeria without subjecting it to thorough clinical tests.

“For these reasons, I will not take the vaccine” she said. “I feel we should continue with our local herbs because it works well with my body system”.

“Although the  AstraZeneca vaccines are WHO certified, as an individual I prefer the use of our local herbs to cure any form of fever, be it malaria, typhoid or COVID.”

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She asserted, ” I am not alone in this non-compliance decision of  COVID-19 rejection because I have heard other people from different quarters say they would not take the vaccine because of the likely repercussions and adverse reaction.”

I don’t want to take anything that would be detrimental to my health, she concluded.

 

However Ndukpo reasoned that one condition for her to get the jab is if there is evidence of anyone who has gotten the vaccine without any reaction to it. “But for now, I rely on local herbs for my ailments”. She said.

Daybreak further sampled the opinion of the educated class but their opinion was no difference as many expressed fears of adverse reactions.

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A Lecturer at one of the higher institutions who declined being mentioned in this report said that over his dead body would he get the vaccine.

According to him, ” COVID-19 is not real in Nigeria or even in Africa because of our hot climate, adding that the vaccines are likely to cause an adverse reaction on persons who take it.

All we have here is malaria and typhoid which many people here usually have and they get treated with our local herbs and some with malarial drugs, this CoVID-19 is just malaria which the West is blowing out of proportion because it is alien to them. Now they are forcing vaccines on us, he said.

A retired Civil Servant, Elder Abali Uzoma was of a contrary opinion resident in Karu, suburban of Abuja.  He said that if the vaccine is truly certified by the food and drug agency, NAFDAC, then it is necessary for all Nigerians especially those in the priority group get vaccinated to prevent COVID-19 from the country.

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He said that as someone in the priority group he would subject himself to vaccination for the prevention of the virus.

” I know that vaccines are good and safe to prevent diseases, so I will subject myself to be vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine which the Federal Government imported into the country.”

The Nigerian government had taken delivery of 3.92 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, 2 March 2021 making the country the third West African country to benefit from the COVAX Facility after Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Executive Director Dr. Faisal Shuaib said it would commence the vaccination of Nigerians in priority groups, starting with frontline healthcare workers.

Shuaib had assured Nigerians that the agency has commenced the training of health workers and ensured that cold chain facilities are ready at all levels.

 

We have a robust cold chain system that can store all types of COVID-19 vaccine in accordance with the required temperature.

We are therefore confident that we will have a very effective roll-out of the vaccine, starting with our critical healthcare workers, who are in the frontline in providing the care we all need,” Dr Shuaib added.

The government said it plans to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of eligible Nigerians aged 18 years and above in four phases within two years.

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The majority of Nigerians still do not believe there is COVID-19 in the country while for others government needs to convince them about the potency of the AstraZeneca vaccine before accepting it.

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