From Ada Nebolise, Awka
The Commissioner for Health in Anambra state has allayed the fears of the people for the AstraZenaca vaccines following its suspension by 13 European countries on grounds of health complications like blot clot, heart seizures and high temperature, urging the citizenry to get themselves vaccinated against the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Vincent Okpala, who spoke Tuesday in Awka stated that the perceived harmful tendencies of the vaccine was non-existent because, according to him, the benefits could not be compared with the risks involved. He declared that AstraZeneca vaccine COVID -19 benefits outweigh it’s risks, the reason they should be vaccinated
Okpala, while speaking with journalists on COVID-19 vaccine introduction organised by the State COVID-19 Action Team in collaboration with the State Primary Health Development Agency, said the scientific process taken to produce the vaccine was sound
He said; “The vaccine we have received is the product of a rigorous scientific process. And has been certified as safe by multiple agencies abroad.
“What we’ve done in our response to the pandemic is to carefully follow the guidelines of WHO which has set the pace and NCDC.
“As of today, they said the benefits of receiving the vaccines outweigh the risk of not receiving it. That means we’re good to go.
“We’ve developed an online tool in the state as a precautionary measure to monitor the adverse effects. When you get your vaccine, note your symptoms so it can be addressed.
“There’s no need to panic. I encourage the people of the state to consider the risk-benefit analysis of getting the shots or otherwise.
“We want to live. This is a virus that has dealt a heavy blow on the society. We continue to issue the vaccine at the same time monitor the side effects.”
He however disclosed that there was a major headache with the vaccine, “Before now, we had about 219 facilities that can store the vaccine. The major challenge now is maintaining the consistency and quality of the vaccine potency and temperature.
“The state cold store is well equipped with solid working cold rooms and each of the 21LGAs has the necessary cold chain facilities.”
While urging stakeholders at various levels to support in sensitizing their subjects on the benefits of proposed vaccine, Okpala disclosed that the vaccine would be at designation health facilities with an average of 3-5 vaccination centres per local government areas.
“Today symbolizes the beginning of a new phase of our assault against a virus that swore to change our way of life. The strategy for winning this phase of the battle is captured by a single word Igwebuike, underlining the principle of herd community.
“Getting one citizen vaccinated without ultimately striving for herd immunity is an exercise in futility. This Igwebuike principle will ensure we end the reign of this pesky,” he added.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary Anambra Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Chioma Ezenyimulu said the vaccination would be carried out in four stages, beginning with the frontline health workers, while the World Health Organization state Co-ordinator, Dr Chukwumuanya Igboekwu praised the state government for joining the rest of the states in taking the COVID-19 vaccination.