COVID-19: BMO backs FG’s vaccination mandate for federal workers

The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has described the decision to make the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for federal government workers as well-thought-out.

The group said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke that it is yet another policy by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration that is in line with the public interest.

“It is our considered view that the requirement for federal government workers to present proof of Covid-19 vaccination within the country and foreign missions, or test results done within 72 hours, could not have come at a better time.

“This is because of a clear but worrisome case of vaccine hesitancy among Nigerians sparked by conspiracy theories in spite of all efforts to encourage more people to make themselves available for the only known pharmaceutical measure against the global pandemic.

“It is a known fact that the government had at the onset of the pandemic in 2000 taken a number of non-pharmaceutical steps that were globally acknowledged as effective, but now that vaccines are available at a time that many countries are recording a third and fourth wave of the virus, this is a good move that Nigerians should embrace.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the country with a population of 200 million has less than 2% people fully vaccinated, and this means that we are far behind other nations with similarly large populations in terms of the number of vaccinated people.

“So, like the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has said, we see the Presidential directive as a bold move that will also prevent unvaccinated Nigerians from putting other people who have been vaccinated at risk,” it said.

The BMO also expressed concern that some Nigerians were still holding on to conspiracy theories about the vaccines.

“It is true that the country is not the only place in the world where those called anti-vaxxers have been using all sorts of misleading information to justify their stance, but several months after the first set of Nigerians, including the President and his deputy took the two vaccine doses, there has not been any sign of the predicted epidemic.

“We also find it worrisome that health workers under the umbrella of Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) are publicly faulting the mandate handed down to federal workers to be vaccinated before Dec.1.

“We wonder why health workers who should be at the forefront of collaborating with the federal government on an issue as serious as this could be saying people’s rights should be respected.

“We make bold to say that JOHESU should be concerned that the country still has less than 2 per cent of its population vaccinated at a time that South Africa with less than a quarter of Nigeria’s population has 10million people fully vaccinated.

“So, rather than constitute itself as a cog in the country’s effort to expand its Covid-19 vaccination net, the joint health workers’ union should be encouraging more people to line up to be vaccinated”.

The group added that the Buhari administration has proved to be a success with its COVID-19 preventive measures and deserve support to ensure that the new wave of the virus does not bring the country to its knees.(NAN)