By Ijeoma UKAZU
The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF has said that there is need for continued polio immunization to avoid a resurgence even as it said that getting the coronavirus vaccine would help fight the virus.
Speaking at the opening session of a three-day media dialogue on Routine Immunization, Post Polio Certification and COVID-19 vaccination organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau, CRIB of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in Collaboration with UNICEF, the Communication for Development Specialist, Ms Elizabeth Onitolo said, adequate awareness is key to achieving the needed objective in combating the issues.
Onitolo who made the appeal in Yola, Adamawa State, also pointed that, “it is important that Nigeria continues the polio immunization to avoid a reoccurrence of the disease. There is a possibility it would happen despite the fact that, World Health Organization, WHO certified the country polio free.”
Dispelling rumours on COVID-19 vaccine, she urged Nigerians to avail themselves to be vaccinated of the Astrazeneca vaccine which is currently available and has a 100 percent efficacy, adding that its target is to prevent the virus.
The UNICEF Communication for Development Specialist appeals to Nigerians to, “stop spreading rumours about the efficacy of the vaccine which is to prevent the virus. Everyone is at risk of contracting the virus and the only way out is to get vaccinated and stop the rumours that the Astrazeneca vaccine has side effects.
” The Nigerian government is doing all it can to get people to focus on the science that justified the use of the vaccine rather than create sensational politics and unfounded stories around it.”
Onitolo revealed that there is no natural immunity to COVID-19, hence the need for everyone to continue observing the non pharmaceutical measures which are washing of hands, use of hand sanitizer, use of face masks and observing physical distancing.
According to her the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and does not contain any micro-chips as is being speculated in some section, adding that, the vaccine has been certified safe by the World Health Organisation and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC.
On routine immunization, she added that is is helping to eliminate vaccine-preventable diseases that are ravaging the country.
She called on the media to increase awareness and educating Nigerians, especially among residents of the North East, to fight the return of polio and other likely diseases to the country, stressing that, no child should die again from polio in Nigeria.