From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Elder statesman and Ijaw leader Chief Edwin Clark and members of his family on Monday received the first dose of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine at his Asokoro residence in Abuja.
According to him, he received the vaccine publicly ‘to demonstrate to people that the vaccine is safe.
‘I have taken it and I’m appealing to every Nigerian this is the occasion to take it.
‘When they said the vaccines were coming, there were a lot of arguments everywhere some said don’t take Johnson & Johnson; don’t take the one from America the temperature will not be cold enough.
‘I said: whichever you bring to this country I will take it.
‘If there is no good health, don’t neglect good health it will affect the economy of the country.
‘We are lucky. Countries are paying so much money. Some have gone down to the level for the next 40 years they may not recover from it.
‘Luckily, we are not at that level. The Ebola, some of these things that happened before in this country we have been very good at treating them,’ he said.
Clark also urged Nigerians to unite and fight the menace of insecurity.
‘I pray that all Nigerians in similar ways, come together to solve the problem of security in this country.
‘We can do it. Once we put our hands together, no one man can do it alone. All of us should put our heads together because we have no other country to go to,’ he said.
Dr Iwot Akpan, Acting Executive Secretary, FCT Primary Healthcare Board, who administered the vaccine to Clark and his family, said that the board was driving the process of vaccinating FCT residents to ensure that the target groups that need the vaccine have to access to it.
‘The target for FCT in 2021 is one million that is 40 per cent of the population that is supposed to be vaccinated this year. Next year we have 30 per of the population.
‘For 2021 and 2022, we expect to vaccinate 70 per cent of the target population.’
Akpan further said that the first dose wasn’t just enough if the second dose was not taken.
‘The essence of appropriate registration is to enable one to complete the cycle and be fully immunised so that you can now live a very free life that one won’t be scared of coronavirus,’ Dr Akpan said.
Nigeria on March 2 took delivery of nearly four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as part of an overall 16 million doses planned to be delivered to the country in batches over the next few months.
The vaccine is being provided by COVAX, a global effort to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.