Governor Abubarkar Sani Bello of Niger state has taken COVID-19 vaccine but expressed doubt about its geniuneness saying that doubt was in consonant with the views of some Nigerians about the vaccine.
The Governor, who took the vaccine at the Government House, Minna on Tuesday, however,mandated his cabinet members to follow his footstep.
Sani Bello said, “Although, no one is scared of being vaccinated but everyone is concerned about the genuineness of the vaccine. We have no choice but to receive it, if you insist, we have no choice but to take it. Not because we want to but because you are insisting we do.
“We are taking the vaccine at the insistence of the state Commissioner of Health and the Executive Director of the NSPHDA.
“We will start with the Commissioner of Health, then,the ED NSPHDA, then the Governor and the Deputy and all other Council members.’
According to Bello, the state is only acting on the advice of the Commissioner of Health and the Executive Director NSPHDA.
The governor, who later made it mandatory for all the SEC members to be vaccinated said, it was best they all receive the vaccine in order to be able to convince other Nigerlites that “it is safe to take the vaccine against COVID-19.”
Meanwhile, there was mild drama at the inception of the short ceremony when the Governor asked who among the executive council members was ready to take the vaccine but many of them turned down the offer with flimsy excuses.
While some raised their hands in objection, claiming that they had not taken breakfast, others claimed that they were suffering from one ailment or another, hence they could not take the vaccine while others simply kept quite, ostensibly for fear of the unknown.
However, Bello calm nerves by saying that “There is bound to be a day or two that you come down with fever when you take any vaccination. So don’t be scared when this happens after this vaccination. It won’t happen to all but to a few”.
The Governor, who said he had earlier received lots of text messages from some of his cabinet members before he came to the Council Chamber for the vaccination said their fears were centred on if it was ideal that they all should be vaccinated.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Muhammad Maku-sidi, had earlier said state received the first batch of 74,110 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines meant for one per cent of the estimated population of Niger state.
The Commissioner who told the Governor and all that were present at the event that some frontline health workers had been administered with the vaccine said the protocol had been designed to ensure that all eligible Nigerlites were vaccinated.
He assured the Governor and the entire SEC that the vaccine was safe to use, adding that it had gone through a lot of clinical trials.
The Commissioner said,“The issue of fake news surrounding COVID-19 and its vaccines have been challenging but we are assuring the people that the vaccine is generally safe and efficacious. It has been verified safe.”