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Without Covid-19 Vaccination, You Can’t Go On Pilgrimage, FG Tells Nigerians

Oluwasina Phillip

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency has called on Nigerians to seize the opportunity of the second vaccination exercise to get vaccinated, as Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem have made it mandatory for pilgrims.

The Executive Director, NPHCD, Faisal Shuaib said this during a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to him, many countries have made vaccination a requirement to gain access to their country as the COVID-19 vaccines have become available worldwide.

He said, “I would like to remind all Nigerians that evidence of vaccination against COVID-19 is now mandatory for all pilgrims to the holy cities of Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem. I therefore urge adherents of both religions who are planning to perform pilgrimage next year or in the future, to get vaccinated now to avoid any delays.

He explained that the phase 2 vaccination has commenced in 35 states plus the FCT, except for Kogi state.

According to him, as at 30th August 2021, Nigeria has so far vaccinated 2,897,201 and 1,430,379 eligible persons with 1st and 2nd doses respectively across the 36 States and Federal Capital Territory.

“For clients who have not had any vaccination, the Moderna Vaccine is available and is being administered currently in all designated health facilities in the Country, while those who have had their 1st dose of AstraZeneca vaccine are encouraged to visit their designated health facility to get their 2nd dose,” he said.

He also disclosed that the government had received an additional 592,880 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 from the UK government, bringing the total quantity of vaccines donated by the UK Government to 1,292,640 doses.

“The additional doses would be included in the 2nd dose vaccination exercise currently ongoing for clients who have already taken the 1st dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the 1st phase.

“I therefore use this opportunity to once again call on those who received the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine before 8th July 2021 to go and get their second dose to be fully protected against all strains of the Corona virus.

Speaking further, Shuaib noted that no one should be forced to be Vaccinated, “it should be thing of choice”, he said.

“We would like to encourage Governors to continue to provide leadership in the mobilization of citizens to prioritize the acceptance of COVID-19 vaccine.

“We are particularly enthused by the example shown by the Governor of Edo State, His Excellency Godwin Obaseki, as he mobilized churches and religious leaders towards mass acceptance of COVID-19 vaccine.

“Already, we are getting request from Edo State for additional vaccines. This is highly commendable,” he said.

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