Bayelsa flagged off the third round of COVID-19 vaccination in Yenagoa on Tuesday and charged residents to make themselves available for immunization.
The deputy governor, Mr. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, who did the flag-off dispelled rumors that the vaccines were unsafe.
He argued that if the vaccines were unsafe, the health status of many who took them in the first and second rounds of the exercise would have deteriorated.
The deputy governor, who chairs the state’s task force on immunization, said the government’s target was to vaccinate at least 70 percent of qualified people in the first instance.
Ewhrudjakpo reminded stakeholders not to take their attention off routine immunization and primary healthcare coverage, even as the COVID-19 vaccination is being scaled up.
“We thank the COVID-19 partners for making the vaccines available.
“As we launch the COVID-19 Scale 3.0 Strategy Vaccination Campaign, we need to remind ourselves that all the negative things about COVID-19 vaccinations have been proved wrong.
“Initially, it was scary and even mystical, but finally it has been demystified and has become an ordinary thing we had expected.
“From the last statement made here by the WHO representative, it is clear that the vaccines are working. If they were not working, the mortality rate would have gone beyond what we have today.
“We need to put more effort than we are doing now.
“While we are talking about COVID-19 vaccination, we must not forget to also talk about routine immunization and primary healthcare coverage,’’ Ewhrudjakpo said.
In his address of welcome earlier, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Pabara Igwele, said the COVID-19 Scales 3.0 Strategy Vaccination Campaign was being conducted nationwide.
He encouraged the people of Bayelsa to take advantage of the current round to get vaccinated.
In their separate remarks, representatives of the NPHCDA, Mr. Dare Jimoh, and his WHO counterpart, Mr. Makio Perekeme, said government and its partners should not relent on the vaccination.
On their part, Deputy Team Lead, Corona Management Systems, Ms. Timiebiere Sabenus, and the representative of UNICEF, Mr. Aigbokhan Godswill, thanked the Bayelsa government for the flag-off of the campaign.
They expressed the hope that the current campaign would ensure 100 percent coverage of the state.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Oluwatoyin Azebi, lauded the government for being proactive towards the COVID-19 vaccination program.
Azebi, also commended the state’s task force on immunization on its excellent job, stressing that with the launch of the campaign, there would be a significant improvement in immunization in Bayelsa.
The high point of the launch was the administration of a COVID-19 vaccination booster dose on the deputy governor.