From Gyang Bere, Jos
Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong has received the first dose of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines against COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
His wife, Regina Lalong took the second those and the Deputy Governor, Prof. Sonni Tyoden also received the dose along Chairman, House Committee on Health, Hon. Nanbolistic Daniel and the Chief Judge of Plateau State, Hon. Justice Gyang Dakwak among several others.
Lalong who was vaccinated by his Personal Physician, Dr. Benjamin Dashat stressed that the Nigerian regulators such as NAFDAC evaluated the vaccines upon arrival in the country all the evaluations have concluded that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective.
“As I promised severally, I am the first to take the vaccine in Plateau State not only because I am the Governor, but because of the need to show example and reassure the citizens that there is nothing to fear about the vaccine.
“I am aware of the conspiracy theories being propagated by some people particularly in the social media aimed at discouraging people from accepting the vaccines. Although this is almost a common pattern associated with the introduction of many vaccines in history, there is yet to be any scientific evidence of foul play on the COVID-19 vaccines being introduced.
“It is important to note that the vaccine had been approved by the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization based on global clinical trials involving 23,000 participants.”
He emphasized that the vaccine would be administer to frontline workers and the aged persons in the society.
“Before we received our first consignment of the vaccines totaling 105,600 doses, the Government began preparations for the smooth storage, distribution and administration of the vaccines across the 17 Local Government Areas.
“For the first phase, we have designated 102 locations where the vaccines will be administered in all the Local Government Areas of Plateau State. Those to be covered are frontline health workers, and those on essential duties.
” The second phase will capture the elderly (50 years and above) and people with underlying illnesses. Every other eligible person will be captured in the third phase. We hope to increase the vaccination centres in the State to about 700 in subsequent phases.”
He reiterated that no one will be compelled to take the vaccine and reminded Plateau citizens that the law criminalizing the denial of COVID-19 in Plateau State is still in force.
“So far, there is no evidence to suggest that there is any adverse effect on those that have taken it particularly in Nigeria. However, we must adhere to the advice of medical experts who are managing the process.”
Member representing Pankshin, Kanke, Kanam Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yusuf Gagdi described the vaccine as safe and satisfied and called on Nigerians to avail themselves for vaccination.
“I encourage the people of Nigeria against the conspiracy theory, that there are issues that used to come up like this, for Mr President to be vaccinated, Governor Simon Lalong and other Governors and leaders to allow themselves to be vaccinated just for some people to come with a conspiracy theory, it’s unfair.”
He said time will come that the COVID-19 vaccination card would be required for national and international assignments just like the yellow fever card.