By Ononye VC
THE Federal Government may consider barring unvaccinated individuals from accessing government facilities, among other measures, if the COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy being witnessed continues, The PUNCH has learnt.
It was gathered, however, that the decision would only be taken if the government did not notice any significant improvement after the ongoing enlightenment and engagement across the country.
Recall that the Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, had said the government might enforce the law against those who refuse COVID-19 vaccination.
The Edo State Government had already started barring government workers without COVID-19 vaccination certificates from accessing government buildings.
When asked on Friday if the Federal Government was also considering such step, the Secretary to the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Dr Mukhtar Muhammed, told said it would be considered if it became necessary.
Muhammed said, “We don’t have such plans but if it becomes necessary, it is something that can be considered.
“There is a lot of mobilisation going on. We have community engagement in all the states where the communities and traditional leaders are engaged.
“We will continue to persuade people through all available means to make sure that people would realise the need and take the vaccines by themselves. For now, there is no plan to do that.”
1.6% fully vaccinated- NPHCDA
Meanwhile, data obtained from the website of the NPHCDA on Sunday revealed that as of September 18, 2021, only 1.6 per cent of the over 200 million Nigerians had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to the NPHCDA, only 4,373,434 eligible citizens have taken their first dose of the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines, while 1,764,649 of the initial four million had taken their second doses.
Shuaib added, “We will continue to monitor for side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines and as it is common with all vaccines, there have been reports of mild to moderate reactions.
“This is normal with any vaccination. We are working with NAFDAC to keep a close watch on those who have been vaccinated for any unlikely case of serious adverse effect,” he said.
As of September 18, 2021, no fewer than 201,630 confirmed cases had been reported in Nigeria with a total of 2,654 fatalities, with 190,288 cases discharged.