In a move to allay the fears of northerners about COVID-19 vaccines, Governors of the region have agreed to openly take the first doses of the vaccines once brought into the country.
The Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, who is also Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, stated this on Thursday, saying he and his colleagues have agreed to be in front of the line to take the first doses.
Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi state, recently said the vaccine is intended to kill but his colleagues have distanced themselves from his claim.
Speaking at a teleconference organised by the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation (SABMF) on Thursday, Lalong, represented by Danladi Atu, Secretary to the Plateau State Government, expressed hope that their action would encourage the people to take the vaccine.
“We, the northern governors, have agreed to take the first doses of the vaccines,” the governor said.
Also speaking, Clara Ejembi, a professor of community medicine from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, said the people should continue to adhere to the COVID-19 protocol.
The professor said the vaccine does not stop one from being re-infected with the dreaded disease.
On his part, Faisal Shu’aibu, Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said the federal government “is aiming at having over 70 per cent vaccinated in two years.”
Shu’aibu said it is projected that 40 per cent of the world’s population would be vaccinated in the first phase.
Speaking while addressing a crowd, Governor Bello doubted the authenticity of the vaccine, saying there is no cure for HIV and many other diseases troubling mankind.
“Vaccines are being produced in less than one year of COVID-19. There is no vaccine yet for HIV, malaria, cancer, headache and for several other diseases that are killing us. They want to use the (COVID-19) vaccines to introduce the disease that will kill you and us. God forbid,” he said.
“We should draw our minds back to what happened in Kano during the Pfizer polio vaccines that crippled and killed our children. We have learned our lessons.
“If they say they are taking the vaccines in the public allow them take their vaccines. Don’t say I said you should not take it but if you want to take it open your eyes before you take the vaccines.”
This is not the first time the Kogi governor would cast doubt on the existence of the viral disease or the potency of the vaccine.
Bello has repeatedly violated social distancing rules, among other protocol to curb the spread of the virus.
Kogi is one of the states where COVID-19 tests are next-to-nil as the governor insists that there is no Coronavirus in the state.
In his New Year broadcast, Bello said it would be irresponsible of his government to see COVID-19 as a definer of 2020.
The federal government had announced that Nigerians would receive the Coronavirus vaccine by this month, adding that a technical working group in the ministry of health was working on which vaccine best suit Nigeria, considering that the country has no -80 degrees freezers.