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COVID-19: UNICEF Representative Hawkins instructs journalists and media with vaccination campaign

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COVID-19: UNICEF Representative Hawkins instructs journalists and media with vaccination campaign

By Maureen Okon

Media organizations in Nigeria have been urged to use their platforms to advance the importance of COVID-19 vaccination in all regions of Nigeria.

Mr. Peter Hawkins, the country representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday that the role of the media is very important.

Hawkins, who visited NAN headquarters in Abuja to brief the agency on the launch of a youth initiative, said it was imperative that people understand the risks of not getting the vaccine.

NAN reports that UNICEF is partnering with the Federal Government of Nigeria to launch Generation Unlimited, an initiative that targets 20 million Nigerian youth for empowerment by 2030.

Hawkins said people need to be told that the risk of not getting the vaccine far outweighs any risk of complications from the vaccine.

“The importance of what we’re trying to do is encourage all journalists to encourage people to get vaccinated.

“The consequences of not taking the vaccines may outweigh any risk that might be associated with a low or limited risk that might be associated with the vaccines.

“We encourage the media to use their communication mechanisms platforms to encourage people to get vaccinated, and it is essential to protect ourselves, our families and our communities.

“If we don’t protect our communities, it will hit those communities at some point if they don’t get vaccinated, so keep talking and encouraging people to get vaccinated,” he said.

The UNICEF representative commended Nigeria for its rapid response to the pandemic and the effective use of radio and other digital tools to disseminate information to its people.

He stressed, however, that the pandemic was not over and as such, it was necessary for all to continue to take preventive measures to limit its spread.

“People are advised to continue to take preventive measures of mask wear, hand washing and social distancing.

“It is so important that we continue to follow the instructions regardless of the current situation.

“On the COVID-19 vaccination, already Nigeria has received four million vaccines and all have been used, 2.3 million have been vaccinated once and 1.4 million have received their second dose, and more vaccines are coming soon for them to finish their second dose.

“Four million will arrive in the next two weeks, 700,000 will arrive and they will start arriving before the end of the year,” he said.

Hawkins added that the plan received from Nigeria’s health ministry called for 112 million people to be vaccinated by 2022. (NAN)

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