The Nigerian Government through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has again assured Nigerians of the safety of COVID-19 vaccines available in the country.
Executive Secretary NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaibu, gave the assurance when he received in audience, David Anyaele, Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), in his office on Thursday.
Represented by Dr Bassey O. Bassey, Director, Disease Control and Immunization, NPHCDA, Mr Shuaibu urged Nigerians to erase misconceptions about COVID-19 vaccines and ensure they are vaccinated against the virus.
“I don’t know what the rumour mongers gain in saying what they say about the vaccines.
“As a medical practitioner for more than three decades, I can confirm to you that what we have is very good and safe for Nigerians,’’ he emphasised.
“I encourage every Nigerian to have confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines, it’s critical in tackling the virus.
“We encourage you to have confidence in the system,” the NPHCDA boss pleaded.
He noted that all the vaccines that were brought into the country were always vetted by regulatory authorities before they are administered to Nigerians.
“We can track the vaccines to be sure that what goes to Nigerians are genuine vaccines and if you watch, it is the only vaccine that we have not given access to people to bring into the country so that they won’t bring what is fake.
“And anything that comes into this country stays about five to seven days in National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and they do their special final analysis to be sure that this is what we are expecting,” he explained.
The NPHCDA boss pledged the agency’s commitment to ensure inclusive healthcare for People with Disabilities (PWDs) in the country.
He reiterated the agency’s commitment to give priority attention to persons living with disabilities in efforts to ensure that all Nigerians have equal access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to him, the agency has directed all its vaccination centres to give priority to disabled persons, saying “If they are on the line, we can’t keep them waiting”.
Earlier, Mr Anyaele urged the agency to intensify efforts toward providing inclusive healthcare for PWDs in the country.
He expressed worry that communication, physical and institutional barriers still hinder PWDs access to primary healthcare services and called for policy action and strategies to address the gaps, including access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to him, PWDs have continued to witness discrimination, exclusion, denial of priority in the public space and subjected to various physical, structural, communication and institutional barriers in accessing COVID-19 vaccines.