Mr Biobelemoye-Joy Josiah, President, Medical and Health Workers' Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), has appealed to Nigerians not to have any negative thoughts about the ongoing AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination in the country.
Josiah made the appeal while speaking with newsmen after he took the first jab of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at MHWUN headquarters on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said that Nigerians, especially the health workers, should avail themselves of the opportunity presented by the ongoing AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination.
"The vaccination is the only assured and available way of protecting health workers who are in the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
"Health workers, having lost many personnel across the world need to protect themselves by getting vaccinated, since they are the all-important soldiers to winning the fight against the pandemic.
"I have just taken my jab of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and I feel good," he said.
Josiah, who was also the Chairman, Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) debunked the speculation that the vaccine was made specifically to depopulate Africa and all other conspiracy theories.
He added that, certainly I have come to take this to tell all health workers especially members of JOHESU that it is not harmful to anybody.
"The initial fear that the vaccine is made specifically to depopulate Africa and all others are conspiracy theories.
"But we are witnesses to the fact that the Europeans have used themselves as the guinea pig so what's the reason for fear.
"We should come out and take the first and second jab so we can be 100 percent clear.
"We are health workers, we are science based people, so we also know and we have been interacting with our counterparts elsewhere in the world.
"I want to appeal to all Nigerians that are having any negative thought or fear of the vaccine that they should not.
"Obviously, nearly one million Americans will not be lining up to take the vaccine if it is dangerous to health," he said.
Josiah noted that there were grievances from the onset of the COVID-19 because majority of our members were discriminated against, that they were not health workers and today vaccines came and they said we are health workers.
"But the bottom line is, even if we have to agitate we need to be alive. So am calling on everybody and I have sent advisories and I have been talking to our people and I think the anger is being doused.
"I also believed that with them seeing me taking this, I am sure the health workers are not be too skeptical in taking this conspiracy theories that abound, " he said.
Josiah however, noted that there are millions of health workers across all levels; federal, state and primary and that they needed to be protected in order for them to attend to the Nigerian population.
Meanwhile, Mrs Eunice Damisah, Director Advocacy and Communication for COVID-19 vaccine in the Primary Health Care Centre, noted that Nigerians have embraced the vaccine like other countries.
According to Damisah, there are few skeptics but the more we vaccinate the more people have come out to demand for the vaccine.
"The vaccine is very safe. It is approved by WHO the global authority of health and NAFDAC which is our regulatory agency has certified the vaccine safe for use. So there is no reason for anyone to be scared, the vaccine is very safe.
"The government has laid down a plan to vaccinate 70 per cent of the eligible population to ensure herd immunity.
"All eligible Nigerians; 18 years and above, should access the vaccination sites when it is their turn to be protected," she said.
Vanguard News Nigeria