Nigeria is the most populated West African nation with an estimated population of 200 million people. Only about 5% (5,558,179) of the total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination have been reached with the first dose while only about 2.6% (2,915,981) of the total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination have been reached with the second dose (fully vaccinated) as It October 24th, 2021.
These numbers include the 36 States and the FCT according to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), even with the AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson brands of COVID-19 vaccines availability in Nigeria.
Out of the 5,558,179 of the total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination who have been reached with the first dose, Lagos state has the highest number with a total of 898,108 while Sokoto state has the lowest number with a total of 52,971 eligible persons reached.
Similarly, out of the 2,915,981 of the total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination who have been reached with the second dose, Lagos state has the highest number with a total of 543,719, while Ebonyi state has the lowest number with a total of 25,496.
Some countries are currently fighting the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic with countries like Brazil, India, etc. fighting the third wave and recording the highest death cases of more than 400,000 in 24 hours earlier this year.
As a third wave of the virus sweeps the world, there has been a rise believed to have been fuelled by new variants of the virus such as the B117 mutation first detected in the United Kingdom. The variant is said to be more transmissible and may also be more deadly than the original virus.
Since Nigeria recorded its index case of COVID-19, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) through the National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), has continued to lead the national public health response in Nigeria, with oversight of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF-COVID-19) to properly manage the situation in the country.
Likewise, several measures have been introduced by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the PTF-COVID-19 together with the Federal Ministry of Health, to curtail the spread of the disease and protect the health of Nigerians.
These measures include the president’s approval for the establishment of an N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund, and enhanced support to states for critical healthcare expenses and an initial lockdown of non-essential activities; closure of schools; a ban on international flights, etc. to ensure a balance between preserving lives and livelihoods of the people while addressing the socio-economic disruptions caused by the outbreak.
As of October 25th, 2021, 711 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria. Up till 26 October 2021, 211,171 cases have been confirmed, 202,674 cases have been discharged and 2,884 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
As of the same date, 711 new cases are reported from 15 States- Delta (508), Plateau (41), Rivers (40), FCT (32), Enugu (24), Lagos (19), Imo (16), Cross River (9), Ekiti (9), Abia (4), Benue (3), Kano (3), Bauchi (1), Bayelsa (1) and Ogun (1), according to The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Globally, America has the highest number with 92,640,794 confirmed cases, followed by Europe which 75,158,335 confirmed cases, South-East Asia with 43,806,780 confirmed cases, Eastern Mediterranean with 16,252,932 confirmed cases, Western Pacific with 9,267,819 confirmed cases and Africa with 6,132,790 confirmed cases, according to World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergency Dashboard.
Globally, as of 4:20 pm CEST, 25 October 2021, there have been 243,260,214 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 4,941,039 deaths with 253,521 new cases, while a total of 6,697,607,393 vaccine doses have been administered as of 24 October 2021, according to the dashboard.
POOR ORIENTATION AND HESITANCE
Even as the cases of COVID-19 are increasing in the country, most citizens still spurned the idea of adhering to the preventive measures.
Many Nigerians still feel uncertain and hesitant about the Covid-19 vaccines, guidelines, preventive measures and other protocols by either the government or other international organizations like World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN), to curtail the spread of the virus even as the new highly infectious Delta variant and other variants, like the Alpha variant that was first detected around December 2020, and January 2021 in the U.K, is currently taking its toll on the world.
Barr. Patrick Olenloa, a resident in Lagos state thinks public awareness and media support encouraged people to come out for the vaccination at the early stage but it now seems the turnout is decreasing. He also believes mandating people to get vaccinated or providing incentives might make a difference.
“Notwithstanding, it is natural that people are always resistant to change and something new but with time they will see the benefit of taking the vaccine so that you protect yourself and by extension protect your family,” he added.
According to Mrs Momoh Donga, the COVID-19 pandemic did not affect Nigeria, thus there is no need to continue with the adherence to the COVID-19 guidelines, preventive measures and other protocols as well as taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
“How are we sure this thing came to Nigeria? Because I don’t believe it and I don’t see any need to keep suffocating myself all in the name of wearing a face mask or be taking a vaccine I don’t know its existence and how it even got here”, she said.
“I cannot take the vaccine and would not advise others to take it” she added.
LACK OF TRUST IN THE GOVERNMENT
Just when the guidelines for curbing COVID-19 were relaxed in the country, which allowed increased vehicular movements, religious gatherings, resumption in workplaces, among others, many Nigerians believed the worst was over and that the country has flattened the curve even when COVID-19 cases are still being reported daily by the NCDC.
The federal government’s warnings that the nation is not yet free from the virus only got shallow responses from Nigerians who lay off the caution as mere word of mouth.
According to Barr. Patrick Olenloa, Nigerians tends not to trust their leaders despite the campaigns and enlightenment on guidelines for curbing COVID-19, the vaccine and its relevance.
“The citizens do not trust the Government. They thought that what the leaders took is different from what they are giving the people and that they are giving the vaccine for their selfish reasons.”
In his opinion, some citizens felt the Government is exaggerating its impact on the people.
Similarly, Public Health expert, Dr Francis, Nigerians have mistrust of the government as such does not feel the need to adhere to whatever guidelines and preventive measures the government is bringing to them. This has affected the level of compliance as well as willingness to take the vaccine.
“We as public health workers have heard a lot of complaints from people of how they are unwilling to take the vaccine or even put on an ordinary facemask. If you go out there you see people living their normal life without the consciousness of the pandemic. People no longer wear nose masks or keep social distance just because they feel the government is not saying the truth about the virus.”
INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Misinformation and false information from social media is another critical issue highlighted by respondents who spoke to the reporter expressed
According to Miss Celina Ogaga, It was trending recently on social media that the reason for the vaccine was to reduce the population of the world particularly Africa since the covid-19 have less impact on them.
“The recent rumour on social media that the people who were vaccinated are liable to die after two years created fear in the mind of so many Nigerians”
“There have been many rumours that the vaccine was a strategic way to insert a microchip into human beings to be able to monitor or manipulate human activities. They tried to justify this assertion with the fact that a metal object sticks on the potion where the vaccine is injected.”
Similarly, Barr. Olena noted that “this simple act of misinformation has affected the mind of so many Nigerians, they believe exactly what they saw on social media.”
SAFE FOR USE?
According to the federal government, health experts and other related organizations and agencies, the COVID-19 vaccine is very much safe. The COVID-19 is not yet over, thus citizens should take the Covid-19 vaccines, adhere to COVID-19 guidelines, preventive measures and other protocols by either the government or other international organizations.
Dr Francis noted that the majority of the people who took the vaccine felt feverish for a few days after their first dose, which is the normal side effect.
“The vaccine is safe and no otherwise side effect is gotten from the vaccination.”
On the other hand, Precious Ogbeide advises that: “People should not be pressured into taking the vaccine. The vaccine adverse effect is depending on the individual, others complain that they get seizures while mine is a constant headache that has refused to relieve me despite medication”
“Precautionary measures should still be taken but the vaccine shouldn’t be mandatory,” she added.
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