From Emmanuel Adeyemi Lokoja
The Kogi State commissioner of health, Dr Saka Audu Haruna has said government has not rejected the Astrazeneca/ Oxford Covid 19 vaccine for citizens in the state and stressed that the deployment of the vaccines will be made available to all soon
The commissioner while fielding questions from newsmen on Wednesday evening in his office on why the state has not received it’s own share of the vaccines pleaded with the citizens that talks were on high gear with the federal ministry of health on how the vaccines will be made available to the state.
According to him, the major problem why the vaccines have not been brought to the state was the problem of adequate storage facility which he said the state was encountering as a result of some storage facilities that were damaged during the endSARS protests last year.
He said the state government has already fixed the damaged storage facilities and that anytime from this week the vaccines will arrive the state and will be made available to the people .
Dr Saka said the state government placed more premium on the health of the people and will therefore not do anything that will endanger the lives of the people
On the recent comment by the minister of State for health, Olorunimbe Mamora that the federal will not force Kogi State if it chooses not take the vaccines, the health commissioner expressed surprise with the comment stressing that Mamora may not have known have deep the state has gone under his ministry for the supply of the vaccines to the state.
Although, he said the quantity of the vaccines consignment to the state was yet unknown, he however assured that all the front line health workers and other stakeholders will be given priority
The commissioner however declined to comment whether the state governor, Yahaya Bello will be one of the first people to be administered the vaccines due the governor’s disposition to the vaccines
The governor at different occasions has criticised the way the pandemic is been ‘celebrated’ saying there were more deadly diseases ravaging the people even as he said some people may be feasting on the hype of the pandemic.
His stance has consequently caused a face off between him and the National centre for diseases control and the governor’s forum which made the forum to dissociate themselves from the stance of the governor.
Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora had last week said the Federal Government won’t force any state to accept COVID-19 vaccines.
Mamora was reacting to a statement by Governor Yahaya Bello, that he won’t take the vaccines, adding that residents of his state are not “guinea pigs”.
The President, Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had beenvaccinated against the virus on a Live TV to demonstrate the safety of the vaccine.
State governors have also started taking the vaccines to boost the confidence of their citizens to receive the vaccines but governor Yahaya Bello is yet to take his own
On whether the federal government will give the vaccines to Kogi State the minister said“We have to weigh all that is involved. We are not going to compel anyone to take the vaccines. We are also conscious of the fact that even as at now, we don’t have enough vaccines.
“So, in essence, if a state through the governor or through any other person in that position says that we don’t want the vaccines in their states, we will not force that.
“Our priority will go to states that are willing and are ready and have even made request to make the vaccines. Even the Bible says, ‘Ask and it shall be given’. We will give to those states that have requested for it. If a state decides not to ask for it, we are not going to compel such a state to ask for it.” he added.