The Minister of State for Health, Dr Adeleke Olorunimbe Mamora has said the Federal Government is not coercing healthcare workers to take the COVID-19 vaccine, but it is recommended they avail themselves for the exercise.
He stressed that it is not compulsory for them, but it is advisable that those frontline health workers take the vaccine in their own interest.
“As we progress, it may get to a point of requesting for your vaccination certificate as a requirement to travel into a foreign country, because every nation has the right to decide who comes into its territory” Mamora stated.
This is even as Nigeria commenced the COVID-19 vaccination exercise on Friday with Dr Cyprian Ngon being the first to receive the vaccine in the country. He led the first set of health workers including nurse Faith E. Eragbai, Dr Nuru Joseph and Dr Thairu Yunusa to receive the vaccine.
The duo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo also received their COVID-19 shots Saturday at the State House, Abuja, streamed on Live TV.
Dr Mamora, who was at the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Monday, for the commissioning of a new Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) machine, said his non-availability for his vaccination in Abuja on Monday, was not in any where related to vaccination phobia, but the commissioning assignment in Lagos prevented him.
“I’m not afraid to take the vaccination, because I’m not one of the peddlers of conspiracy theories”, he asserted.
He further stated that those peddling conspiracy theories about the vaccine are doing two things wrongly: “First, they desecrating the memory of those lost to COVID-19; and secondly, they doing a disservice to frontline healthcare workers who stake their lives that we all may be saved”.
He said they can only pray for them like Jesus prayed for his enemies “Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing”.
Commending the management of NIMR in their efforts incurbing the spread of the virus, he said they have not only taken the nation to the next level as the usual mantra of the ruling APC, but has taken us to the next generation of sequencing.
“The importance of the NGS machine in this era of COVID-19 pandemic cannot be over emphasised.The world has grappled with one of the highest mortalities and morbidity incidence in the history of mankind
“The NGS machine would not only serve in the molecular surveillance of SARS-CoV-2, but also prepare us in the fight against other infectious agents such as Lassa fever virus, Ebola, and any other infectious agent characterised by the genetic code.
“Other areas of life science NGS research such ad transcriptomics, genetic polymorphisms and epigenetics can be achieved using this newly installed equipment”, he quipped.
NIMR DG, Prof. Babatunde Salako had earlier disclosed that the new NGS machine was fully funded by the Federal Ministry of Health through the Federal Government COVID-19 intervention fund.
Salako,who recalled that it was exactly a year when the minister visited the institute, revealed further that the full genemic sequencing laboratory is capable of supporting the NCDC in their genomic surveillance and more importantly, our genomic research in all ramifications.