We Can’t Force Nigerians To Take COVID-19 Vaccine – Sultan Of Sokoto Asks FG To Clear Myths About Vaccination
Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, said the Federal government cannot force Nigerians to take the COVID-19 vaccine as Nigeria continues to battle the second wave of the pandemic.
The Sultan, who is the President of Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), said this while urging the Federal Government to clear the myths around the vaccine in order to help traditional and religious leaders convince their followers to accept it or not.
There has been a lot of skepticism about coronavirus vaccine around the world and in Nigeria. This has led world leaders to publicly receive a dose of the vaccine to prove that the vaccine is safe for use.
He specifically urged the government to provide answers to the questions agitating the minds of Nigerians on why the vaccine was got so early, in one year, even when the global science community had not been able to get vaccines for cancer and other killer diseases that had been around for years.
The Sultan said this on Wednesday while speaking at a meeting organised by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) to discuss introduction of the vaccine in Nigeria.
He noted that there were so many conspiracy theories that the vaccine was meant to kill Africans, stressing;
We cannot force people to take the vaccine, as the decision to take or not should be a personal choice.
According to the Sultan, Muslims know that knowledge is very important, and that Islam was founded on knowledge.
The vaccines are not yet in Nigeria, but it is an opportunity to bring up questions and fears about the vaccines, so that the authorities will offer answers and solutions.
The Northern leader noted that the coordination and partnership with the northern traditional and religious leaders helped in the case of polio, the terrible illness that crippled Nigerian children.
The monarch said what the Federal government needs to do is sensitize the public on the importance of taking the vaccine and not force people to take it.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, explained that;
“There is no COVID-19 vaccine specifically meant for Nigeria or Africa,” adding that the same vaccine used in the United Kingdom, United States and other countries will be used in Nigeria.
Vaccines are serious biological materials and any vaccine that would be used in Nigeria must be certified safe and effective by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), though they have been certified by the Who Health organisation (WHO).