JUST IN: FG hints at taking action against those who refuse COVID-19 vaccine

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The presidential steering committee (PSC) says Nigerians who refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine won’t be allowed to put others at risk.

Dr Faisal Shuaib, executive director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), spoke on the issue of vaccine hesitancy during a briefing on Tuesday.

Shuaib said the federal government will prevent eligible Nigerians from endangering others once the vaccines are available to everyone.

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He said: “The Presidential Steering Committee and the Federal Ministry of Health is exploring ways of making vaccines more available to all Nigerians including Federal Civil Servants and Corporate entities. Once these vaccines are made equitably available to all Nigerians, then we would need to have a frank discussion about justice, fairness and liberty that exist around vaccine hesistancy.

“If some individuals refuse to take the vaccine, hence endangering those who have or those who could not due to medical exemptions, then we have to apply the basic rule of law which stipulates that your human right stops where mine begins. So, you have a right to refuse vaccines, but you do not have the right to endanger the health of others.”

Shuaib also reiterated that the vaccines that are being administered in the country are safe and efficient.

He said: “Let me once again, assure Nigerians that the Federal Government is very alert on the safety and efficacy of the various range of vaccines we are using in the country, and that is why we are not compromising on any component of our vaccine logistics at Federal and state levels.

“I once again appeal to all our health workers to remain steadfast in discharging their professional responsibility to Nigerians. The Federal government is working hard and supporting the states in ensuring that Nigerians are protected against COVID-19. This is a collective fight in which we all have responsibility as Nigerians to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our community.”

He added that evidence of vaccination against COVID-19 is now mandatory for all pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem.

Shuaib said: “I therefore urge adherents of both religions who are planning to perform pilgrimage next year or in the future, to get vaccinated now to avoid any delays.

“This is also to bring to our attention, that as the COVID-19 vaccines become available worldwide, some countries have made vaccination a requirement to gain access to their country.”

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