Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, has called on all political office holders to publicly take the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in order to deepen acceptance.
The Sultan, who is also the president-general of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), said this at a sensitisation meeting for Muslim scholars and Imams on COVID-19 vaccination, organised by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) in Abuja.
He said, “We have seen the President, the Vice President, and others publicly take the vaccine, we expect that more political leaders should come out openly and take the vaccine.
“I believe that if they do so, ordinary Nigerians will have confidence in the safety of the vaccine. All political leaders must take the vaccine first before the common man on the street because they are leaders and need to be strong to lead the country to a greater height.”
The Sultan stated that no Nigerian would be forced to take the vaccine. He, however, appealed that everyone accepts the vaccine as they accepted the polio vaccine so that the country can be free from COVID-19.
Also speaking, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, reiterated that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective. He noted that the vaccine is being used in over 70 countries across the world.
He added that 17 million doses of the vaccine have administered globally and 37 cases of blood clotting have been reported which according to him, is very insignificant.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, on his part, advised Nigerians not to let down their guard, as some countries were already experiencing a third wave of the pandemic.
“I wish to reiterate that the virus is very potent and people still get infected. It has been reported that some countries are recording a third wave of cases. I, therefore, urge all Nigerians to recognise that we are not yet out of the woods.
“The PTF shall continue to emphasise and promote the strict adherence to the NPIs (non-pharmaceutical interventions) and for people to take the vaccines,” he said.