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|Omicron: Only 296,123 of 1.6 million Health Workers in Nigeria Vaccinated by Peculiar005: Sat Dec 2021 12:02am|
Amid fears over the new strain of the coronavirus disease, tagged the Omicron variant, the Africa regional office of the World Health Organisation has said only 18 per cent of Nigerian health workers are fully vaccinated.
This is as the global health body ranked Nigeria as one of the countries with the lowest rate of vaccinated health workers in the region, making them more vulnerable to the disease.
In 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, no fewer than 20 Nigerian medical doctors lost their lives.
The WHO, in the statistics made available to our correspondent, however, explained that only 296,123 out of the 1.6 million Nigerian health workers were fully vaccinated, representing a meagre 18 per cent of the health workers, while an estimated number of 500,000 had taken their first doses.
Its regional director, Dr Moeti Matsidioso, however, added, “The majority of Africa’s health workers are still missing out on vaccines and remain dangerously exposed to severe COVID-19 infection. Unless our doctors, nurses and other frontline workers get full protection, we risk a blowback in the efforts to curb this disease.
“The risk of health workers’ infection rises whenever cases surge. This is a pattern that has been observed during the previous three waves of the pandemic. With a fourth wave likely to hit after the end of year travel season, health workers will again face risks amid low vaccination coverage.”
Meanwhile, a professor of Medical Virology at the University of Maiduguri, Marycelin Baba, expressed disappointment at the low rate of fully vaccinated health workers in Nigeria.
“The worst form of vaccine hesitancy to be experienced is the one among health workers. These are people who are supposed to know better and are to advocate the importance of vaccination among the public. The Federal Government can educate them and also advocate for compulsory vaccination,” Baba said.
But the spokesperson of the Joint Health Sector Union, Olumide Akintayo, argued that health workers had a choice to accept or reject vaccination.
Akintayo, said, “The idea of compulsory vaccination or even forcing anyone to get vaccinated is not something that should be enforced. Yes, health workers are in the front line of the fight against COVID-19 but you cannot force them to get vaccinated. People have their reasons for rejecting vaccines and you cannot force them. Of course, we will continue to speak to health workers and encourage them to take the vaccine but forcing them will be infringing on their human rights.
Source: Punch Newspaper
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