Nigeria: Skepticism continues over COVID-19 vaccination

WordStage Newsonline – With over five million doses of Covid-19 vaccines received by Nigeria for a population of over 200 million from March 2021 to date, the responses from the vaccination centres across the country are not that of cries over shortage, but of large scale reluctances by the people to take the jabs.

So far, 5,085,511 of total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination were said to have been reached with first dose while 2,320,664 of total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination were reached with second dose.

Investigation by WorldStage revealed that many Lagos residents were not keen about going for COVID-19 vaccination.

Some traders who spoke to our reporter at Alaba International Market, Ojo, one of the biggest markets in the country, said they declined to take the jabs against COVID-19 due to lack of trust of the authorities and fear of unknown.

Emeka Ndupu, Chief Executive of PPCOM, a battery maker stated that the government could not be trusted as it had been proven as untrustworthy over the years.

Another respondent who identified herself as Mrs Ndupu ssaid, “I don’t trust anything coming from the west.”

She recounted what she described as the inhuman killing of innocent children in Nigeria through meningitis treatment by Pfizer in the past.

 She said, “Nobody in his right senses will trust that vaccine; they will always send bad medication to us because they believe we are plenty, so that they can wipe us out. They killed so many people in Nigeria that year.

“Yes, we agree the Coronavirus exists, but I will never take anything coming from the whites as a solution. I will rather use traditional herbs.”

Similarly, in Bariga Market, one of the largest in Lagos, a large number of the women that were met were not willing to embrace the vaccine.

Wahab Temilolowa, one of the women leaders in the market expressed concerns that the virus had infiltrated many places in Lagos, but that she would not take the jab.

She said, “We believe that the virus exists and people who have been infected have been healed with traditional medicine. Those who died were buried too. But I can assure you that our traditional medicine made from herbs is very effective in healing those infected by the virus.”

The women leader said there was no need of confirming the authenticity of the reports that some people encountered problems after taking the vaccine, saying the past experience with meningitis in Nigeria was enough to believe the rumour.

As for Joy Matthew, a Mass Communication student of Anchor University, Lagos, despite being among those mobilised to enlighten people about vaccine, she insisted she would not take it.

She said; “I believe that there is COVID-19 virus and I am among the people who were mobilised to enlighten people about it. But I don’t want the vaccine because I don’t know how my body would react to it. It may be useful but I don’t want it.”

She said the virus had raised level of poverty in the community following the lockdown with children unable to go to school for a long time.

“A lot of people don’t want to be vaccinated because some are of the opinion that the vaccine will prevent them from giving birth,” she said.

For Segun Ilori, despite being a pharmacist, he said he hesitated for a while before summoning the courage to get vaccinated.

Coronavirus vaccines arrived in Nigeria in March, one year after the country’s index case was recorded in Lagos, the nation’s commercial hub.

Record showed that \the nation received 3.94 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX facility in early March, and it commenced the vaccination of willing citizens.

The government  has projected to vaccinate approximately 109 million people against the COVID-19 virus over a period of two years.

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