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FG begins COVID-19 vaccination exercise in churches to deepen coverage

In a bid to increase COVID-19 vaccination coverage in the country, the federal government on Tuesday said it has introduced vaccination exercises during Sunday services across the country.

Faisal Shuaib, executive director and CEO, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, stated this during a meeting with the leaders of Christian Association of Nigeria in Abuja.

The move according to the executive director is to ensure that members of the Christian community who have not had access to the vaccine for any reason are given an opportunity to be vaccinated at their worship places.

“I am glad to inform you that from this second phase of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out, 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 service,” he said.

Shuaib noted that Christian leaders across the country have been formidable pillars of support in all primary health care interventions.

“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. We are most grateful as a people and Government”, he said.

Read also: Akwa Ibom announces commencement of second phase COVID-19 vaccination campaign

“I am aware that in the States and LGAs, representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria are strong and committed members of the State and LGA Task Forces on Immunization”, the ED further said

“These ambassadors have contributed immensely to confidence-building and trust in Government-led public health programs, especially in the days of the Nigeria polio eradication program when we were battling with high rate of refusals to vaccination due to rumours and misinformation”, he added.

Shuaib also informed that arrangements have been made for corporate vaccination for eligible staff of Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), Private/corporate organizations, including Faith-based organizations, their family members, dependents, and retirees to be vaccinated at their convenience.

He urged all eligible persons to visit www.nphcda.gov.ng to access the registration portal.

In his remark, Sunday Onuoha, executive director of Nigerian Interfaith Action Association, called on Christian leaders to partner with the government in promoting acceptance of the vaccine.

He noted that faith leaders were in position to address misinformation while enhancing public health impact.

“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.

“The Church and all faith communities will partner with the Federal government to make Nigerians smile, we succeeded with polio, malaria and we will succeed in this time of COVID-19,” he said.

Similarly, Mamora Olorunnimbe, Minister of state for health, urged Christian leaders to mobilize their members for vaccination.

He said 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.

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

“The vaccines are effective and safe, they have been certified by the world health organisation and NAFDAC.

“You all have the responsibility as leaders to protect the lives of your followers,” he said.

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