Word Health Organisation, WHO, has announced 25 cases of fresh Coronavirus disease, COVID-19 infections, in Benue State, advising people to take advantage of the availability of vaccines to protect themselves because the virus is still very prevalent.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, Surveillance Officer, for Benue state, Ogechukwu Chigbo made this known at a one-day Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, and Media Engagement/Orientation meeting on COVID-19 Ramp up in Makurdi.
The Surveillance Officer cautioned that COVID-19 was still prevalent advising that people take advantage of the availability of vaccines to protect themselves from the virus.
She stated that “the problem is that there are a lot of negative rumours about COVID-19 vaccine. There is need to ensure that everybody gets vaccinated because this is the period that we record outbreaks. And the reason why people are not coming down with the virus is because of the vaccine.
“People should come out and get vaccinated because those dying of COVID when the vaccine is available are committing suicide. On our part we cannot allow people to die because they do not know that the vaccine is there to protect them. There is enough vaccine to protect everyone.
“This year we recorded 25 cases in Benue, though no fatalities that is the more reason why we must all come out and get vaccinated.”
She pointed out that the global organisation had decided to integrate COVID-19 vaccination into the routine immunisation exercise to further drive the courage in the state.
According to her “we have been implementing series of campaigns on COVID-19. We have had phases of it and we have been experiencing some challenges and since we are not able to reach at least 70 percent in Benue, it is better to have the vaccine integrated as part of the routine immunisation.
“We felt that if we routinise COVID-19 vaccine it would help alot but that might also not be effective if we don’t back it up with sensitisation. We are aware that so many people have negative impression about the vaccine but the vaccine is safe. The vaccine will protect you from coming down with severe infection. That is why we must all get ourselves vaccinated it is available in all health facilities that provide routine immunisation and it is free.
“We are encouraging everyone in Benue from 18 years and above to present themselves for vaccination. Luckily we have the Johnson and Johnson vaccine which is given just once.”
Also, the WHO Sub-national Technical Assistant, COVID-19/Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response, Kaltume Ibrahim cautioned caregivers and healthcare workers against compelling mothers to pay for vaccines that were meant to be administered at no cost.
She stated that it was totally unacceptable warning those in the habit to desist, “that is certsining discouraging mothers from presenting their babies and children for immunisation. It is a major problem and communities must know that vaccines are free and it must not be paid for for any reason. All they need to do is move to the vaccination point, and if the point is far from the community it would be moved closer to them. No one must pay for vaccine.”