From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye Fred Itua, and Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Federal Government, yesterday, declared that with Nigeria now experiencing a more virulent second wave of the coronavirus pandemic which has increased the number of COVID-19 related deaths from 1173 on November 29, 2020, to 1,578 on January 31, 2021, no one is safe except vaccinated.
Chairman of Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said this at the sensitisation meeting on COVID-19 vaccine introduction with leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and scholars, held yesterday, in Abuja.
Mustapha noted that the death rate has increased to 34 percent, adding that the number of infections have also grown tremendously.
The PTF chairman explained that the arrival of vaccines has given hope that solution had been found.
He said: “As a nation, our national response has been very robust with significant positive results because we deployed non-pharmaceutical interventions, testing, detection and treatment as a strategy. For risk communication, the PTF mounted its outreach using several channels, including the faith based organisations such as the CAN.
“…The arrival of vaccines has, however, given hope to humanity that a solution had been found. This does not, however, mean that the NPIs would be discarded. Going forward, it shall be NPIs + vaccines for every one to completely get over the pandemic.
“I wish to make it abundantly clear that no body is safe around the world until every one is vaccinated. That is why we are now gathered here, today, to sensitise you and seek your inputs on the strategy to be jointly adopted and the role you will play in carrying the message on vaccines to all adherents of the Christian faith.”
Mustapha, while seeking the cooperation of the CAN leadership, listed the challenges the PTF was facing to include: “Skepticism about the virus; lack of compliance with the the NPIs even among Church leaders; very low testing which limits detection; the dangers associated with those infected but were never detected (for every one detected, we probably missed 10); low risk perception and awareness which we continue to address; rising daily numbers occasioned by the second wave; disruption in socio-economic activities, including the way we worship and opening of our schools; increasing number of deceased loved ones, friends and church members; and vaccine hesitancy across all strata of life.”