Seven intending Christian pilgrims from Bauchi State have been prevented from embarking on holy pilgrimage to Israel due to their refusal to be vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine, even as 18 dons from two universities in the state have volunteered to take doses of the vaccine.
This was revealed by the Executive Chairman of the Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (BASPHCDA), Dr Rilwanu Mohammed while speaking with journalists in Bauchi on Friday.
Dr Mohammed had decried the skepticism showed by the people of the state towards the COVID-19 vaccination, adding that some who did not take the vaccine wanted to be issued with vaccination cards, an act he warned against.
Dr Mohammed declared that the fact that the intending Christian pilgrims could not make the trip to the holy land was an indication that the world was taking the issue of vaccination for the deadly COVID-19 pandemic seriously.
He said in the nearest future, evidence of being vaccinated would become part of the new normal not only in the country but all over the world.
The BASPHCDA boss informed that as soon as the state rolls out the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination, 17 professors from the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi and another don from the Bauchi State University, Gadau, came forward to take the vaccine.
“Immediately they heard that we had got supply of vaccine, they quickly came to the agency to take their jabs. The reason was that they wanted to travel out of the country but were refused travelling documents.
“So, they had to come back to take it. Another person came from the State University in Gadau to take the vaccination. You can see how important it is,” Dr Mohammed asserted.
Speaking on the need for increased enlightenment and awareness campaign, Mohammed urged the media in the state to join in educating people about the need to get the vaccine, adding that the media also need to disabuse people’s minds on the misconceptions and misinformation they have about the vaccine.
He decried a situation where media professionals who ought to be in the forefront of the campaign against the spread of COVID-19 are not doing enough in terms of being trained.
“To my surprise, only a few media men are here for the training. We need to have more of you people here to discuss the matter of COVID-19 vaccination.”
He disclosed that despite still having about 21,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine unused, Bauchi State still got another delivery of the vaccine, saying that all are being stored in the agency’s cold room store.
“Now, the first and second doses of AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered but we still have about 21,000. We got another delivery of the vaccine yesterday (Thursday). It is in our store.”
With the country getting other brands of vaccine, the BASPHCDA executive chairman, however, warned against people taking different COVID-19 vaccines, saying that it would not help immunity.
According to Mohammed, “people are making mistakes. If they take one vaccine, they will want to take another different vaccine; that is totally wrong. That is not acceptable, it will not help the immunity; it may even affect the immunity.”
He called on people not to panic if they experience any side effects like fever when they take the vaccine, saying that they should just take paracetamol.
“We have people that have severe fever, some are mild fever. These are expected in any vaccination. The important thing is to know that there is no cause for alarm. As soon as any of the symptoms is noticed, the person should just take PCM. They should not wait and should report to the nearest health facility immediately.
“People will have reaction and keep quiet and die in silence. We have NAFDAC here and they are working to ensure that the vaccine remains potent. They are training people on how to handle the situation.
“We are doing everything possible to see how to ameliorate the suffering. We need to educate the people to know that the vaccine is a new product and has a mild fever so we need to take paracetamol and then report to the nearest health facility for administration.”