Despite the plan for the president and vice-president to take the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines in the public, a cross-section of Nigerians have insisted that they will not participate in the procedure.
The Nigerian Government has announced that President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo will receive shots of AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines on Saturday to prove the vaccine safety to the public.
Nigeria, on Tuesday, received the first batch of about 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine under the COVAX initiative and the planned launch of the national vaccination campaign.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this at the second edition of the State House briefing in Abuja on Thursday, which is motivated by Nigeria’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the country’s national vaccination strategy.
Shuaib said, “Launch of national vaccination campaign will take place at the National Hospital, Abuja, Friday, March 5, 2021, with frontline health workers.
“On Saturday, the plan is to vaccinate Mr President, Mr Vice-President, and strategic leaders, to demonstrate vaccine safety to the public.
“Again, we are hopeful that when Nigerians see leaders like Mr President and Mr Vice-President take the vaccines; it will increase their confidence around the safety of the vaccines.
“As you are well aware that even before the vaccines arrived in Nigeria, there is a lot of hesitancy. It is a global phenomenon. Vaccine hesitancy is similar no matter where you are, you have to provide the right information and to those people who have questions, we cannot dismiss their cynicism.’’
However, a cross-section of Nigerians, some of whom are Christians whose pastors have linked the vaccine to the Antichrist in the past, vowed not to take the vaccine.
For instance, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of LoveWorld Incorporated (also known as Christ Embassy), had delivered a sermon that had thousands of views on YouTube in which he claimed that the introduction of 5G technology was responsible for the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. He also alleged that the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine would be used to enthrone a “new world order” led by the Antichrist.
The 5G is a fifth-generation wireless communications technology supporting cellular data networks, which follows the 4G technology currently in use in many countries, including Nigeria.
Some of the respondents told SaharaReporters on Friday that their decision had to do with their religious beliefs, some others said the Nigerian government could not be trusted with precious lives.
Esther Tijani, a member of the Christ Embassy said, “I can’t take the vaccine. I have a mind of my own, so it is not because Pastor Chris Oyakhilome was against it. I have the right to choose what I will allow being done to my body. I hold on to the message in Psalms 91:5-6 that, ‘Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.’ That’s why I cannot take the COVID-19 vaccine.”
“I no dey take o. I cannot take the vaccine,” Joy Okezie, another member of the Christ Embassy said. “Not taking it is about my Christian belief and also about my individuality. This is because the vaccines I’ve had to take are the ones I was given when I was a baby. Also, I’m a very objective person. I like to get full details of whatever I’m getting involved in. I also believe in having good reasons for all my actions.