Amidst the cocktail of plans being put in place by federal and state governments to vaccinate Nigerians against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has said he wouldn’t receive the vaccine.
Speaking on a live television programme yesterday, Bello said there was nothing medically wrong with him and he won’t allow the people of his state to be used as “guinea pigs,” even as his colleagues in other states are expected to receive shots of the AstraZeneca/ Oxford COVID-19 vaccines as from next week.
Nigeria had on Tuesday received about four million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine shipped into the country through the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.
Some health workers including the first Nigerian to receive the vaccine on the country’s soil, Dr. Cyprian Ngong of the National Hospital, Abuja, received shots of the vaccines when the exercise was flagged off by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, yesterday in Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo as well as some governors are also expected to receive shots of the vaccines today to dissipate vaccine hesitancy amongst Nigerians.
In his reaction to the preparation from the federal and state levels, the Kogi governor said, “COVID-19 is not our business in Kogi State. We have more pertinent issues and more pertinent matters that we are attending to in Kogi State. Insecurity we met, we’ve tackled it and several others. Disunity we met on ground and we have united Kogi State today not COVID-19.
“COVID-19 is just a minute aspect of what we are treating or handling in Kogi State; there have been outbreaks of Lassa Fever and Yellow Fever and those were handled without making noise about it.
“The last Yellow Fever (outbreak), we vaccinated out people against Yellow Fever, we encouraged them, we educated them and they felt the impact…If the Federal Government is gracious enough and give us COVID-19 vaccines, we will equally sensitise our people, people who wish to come and take can come and take but I am not going to subject the people of Kogi State to vaccines or vaccination and I will not make them the guinea pigs.
Continuing, Bello said, “Mr President is the leader of this country. I respect him so high; all of us respect him so much. We love him and he is leading by example. If he needs to take the vaccines, and he takes them, it is a welcome development.
“As far as I am concerned, I as a person, don’t need to take vaccines. There is nothing wrong with me, I am hale and hearty. I am 100 per cent healthy… I won’t take any vaccine.’