The Rotary Club International has lamented vaccine apathy among Nigerians and called on the government to use persuasion rather than dishing out ultimatums.
The public relations officer, Rotary Club, Jabi branch, Abuja, Victoria Adeola Olaitan, stated this while speaking during the campaign and vaccination exercise at Daki Biyu area of Abuja.
Olaitan, who is also the Senior Programme Executive, Sustainable Healthcare International, said though the vaccine is safe, the turnout by Nigerians remains poor due to suspicion and lack of trust between the government and the people.
“We are here at Jabi, Daki Biyu, Agwan Lambo with National Primary Healthcare Development Agency to create awareness and to give the COVID-19 vaccination. We were here yesterday and we are here today.
“The turnout is not very encouraging, there have been quite a number of resistance. I also visited the Jabi Mall and Silverbird center at Wuse and there is still alot of resistance as regards COVID-19 vaccination. There is alot of miscommunication about what the vaccine is about, whether COVID-19 is real,” she said.
She revealed that only 26 persons accepted the vaccine on November 28, 2021, and another 11 on November 29, while three persons accepted at Silverbird under Wuse district.
She blamed the apathy on lack of trust and called on the government to embark on aggressive sensitisation campaigns and build trust with the people.
She said field survey has shown that an average Nigerian does not believe COVID-19 is real.
“They don’t believe COVID-19 is real, they don’t trust what the government says. It comes from a long line of distrust.
“Basically the government need to create good PR around them, it is not just enough to give ultimatum, deadlines and sanctions, you don’t want to push the nation with sanctions, give them reasons, explain why they have to take it.
“The awareness should be at different levels, don’t just sit in the office and dish out orders. Take the relevant stakeholders like the traditional and religious leaders when coming come along with palliatives because the people are hungry,” she added.
The Chief of Daki Biyu, HRH Ishaku Lamishe, called on Nigerians to accept the vaccine as he has done, saying no government will kill it own people.
“Before I used to be afraid but now I have taken it. Government will not kill it own people. That is why I’m calling on people to come and take the jab,” he added.
Dr. Suleman Namuze of the NPHCDA while calling on people to accept the jab, stressed the importance of the vaccine to boost immune system.
He revealed that about six million Nigerians have been vaccinated in the last seven months of the exercise.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders including community and religious leaders to encourage people to accept the jab.
He said one unvaccinated person poses health risk to others vaccinated, hence every eligible Nigerian should be vaccinated.