When Governor Godwin Obaseki on August 23rd, 2021, announced unvaccinated residents of the state would no longer be allowed access to public and private places, including places of worship, by second week of September drew criticism from members of the public.
As the state stands firm in its position, more civil servants and some residents of the state are going for vaccination with an enforcement team ensuring compliance to the ‘No vaccine, no work’ order, which many previously thought was a mere threat.
As of Tuesday, according to the permanent secretary in the ministry of Health, Osamwonyi Irowa, over 7,960 vaccines had been given out.
Recall that some civil society groups had staged a protest against the directive, while others had even got a restraining court order against the state government.
But shockingly, after the expiration of the two weeks, Obaseki fulfilled his threat and prevented civil servants in the 18 local government areas without evidence of vaccination, entry into offices.
The monitoring team also scanned cards to be sure that they were genuine before allowing its holders into the secretariat. Some civil servants said they were taken by surprise and did not bring their cards with them, while those who had it in their offices had to send their colleagues to bring it to them at the gate before they were allowed in.
Irowa notes they have recorded a significant number of persons willing to take the vaccine. “We want to thank the Edo people for taking the vaccines. We are witnessing increasing demand and they are all getting it. We have enough vaccines for Edo people and our target is to hit the roof,” Irowa said.
He, however, warned against the purported buying and selling of vaccination cards by some persons without getting inoculated. He threatened that anyone caught will be dealt with in accordance with the law of the state.
“When we find any of such, we will investigate appropriately and track the persons involved. We are not encouraging people to get the card but only to get vaccinated. So, if you don’t want to get vaccinated, then don’t go near the cards.” He said the state has recorded 58 new cases and five new deaths in the past 72 hours.
A civil servant, who craved anonymity, said the order of the government should be commended, as the intention is to save the lives of people. He however appealed to the state to embark on massive sensitisation campaigns to erase doubts from the mind of people who had some misconceptions about the vaccines.