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Lawmaker says intense sensitisation required to increase vaccination rate in W/Africa

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Lawmaker says intense sensitisation required to increase vaccination rate in W/Africa

The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says intense awareness-raising is required to increase the vaccination rate of ECOWAS citizens.

Hon. Francis Alimikhena, representing Nigeria in the ECOWAS Parliament, made the call on Thursday in Abuja.

He said this while answering questions from journalists in response to the country’s report at the ongoing 2021 Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament.

The Nigerian News Agency reports that Alimikhena, in presenting his country’s reports, said that Nigeria was making efforts to vaccinate 80 million of its citizens by the end of 2021.

However, Alimikhena noted that to achieve this feat, Nigeria and other member states must increase their awareness about vaccination, as most people still think that vaccines are not safe.

He said others, unfortunately, don’t even think that COVID-19 is real, hence the need to double awareness to the ground.

“For us, getting 80 percent of the vaccine in Nigeria is a bit difficult because there is a lot of skepticism about the vaccine, some religious beliefs.

“Some people have been brainwashed that there is no need to get vaccinated.

“But even they should know that all Heads of State have been vaccinated, including the President of Nigeria, the Vice President, which means that the vaccine is good for everyone,” he said.

According to him, yesterday it could be seen that the Federal Secretariat said that if they do not have the vaccines they should not enter the office.

“If they get that stance in a public meeting, then you can achieve those 80 percent goals.

“And probably talk to religious institutions so they can repeat themselves and tell their parishioners that it is good to be vaccinated.

“Normally, these vaccines do not go through the National Assembly, they are sent to the States to be distributed to local governments and other places.

“All we have to do is tell our constituents that it is good for them to be available for this vaccine and how important it is to them,” Alimikhena said.

On the availability of vaccines, Alimikhena said that the Federal Government was working hard to ensure the availability of vaccines so that all Nigerians can get vaccinated.

Alimikhena said that for local governments and communities where vaccines are in short supply, local authorities must inform state governments.

“There are some local governments that do not have vaccines but it is the job of the government of that state to supply the vaccines.

“For the members of the National Assembly, it is important that they also create more awareness among their constituents.

“The federal government is doing everything it can to make these vaccines available to everyone. But the problem is actually the mentality of people who think the vaccine is not safe.

“If you go to the local communities, some of them still don’t believe that COVID-19 exists. Even when you tell them to wear masks, they will be reluctant.

“But it requires a gradual education for them,” Alimikhena said.

Source: NAN

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