The President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has urged the federal government to encourage more political leaders to come out openly and take the Astrazeneca vaccine as a means of winning the confidence of Nigerians.
Speaking at the sensitisation meeting of Muslim scholars and Imams on the COVID-19 roll out in Abuja yesterday, the religious leader said that such endorsement by leaders would go a long way to restoring public trust that the vaccine was safe.
“I believe that President Muhammadu Buhari having taken the lead to receive the vaccine, other political office holders would follow suit and if they do so, ordinary Nigerians will have confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine,” he said.
He said there was no doubt that COVID-19 was real and that the danger potent.
The Sultan enjoined Muslim leaders to use the opportunity to ask questions and get the right answers which they will relay to their people.
On his part, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the concern over the safety of AstraZeneca vaccines had been cleared by the World Health regulatory bodies.
Ehanire said there was a lot of misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines which several regulatory bodies, including the European Medicine Agency, WHO and NAFDAC had addressed and confirmed that the vaccine was safe.
He also explained that the Astrazeneca vaccine had virtually passed all the quality test by the WHO and NAFDAC, adding that WHO had given the Astrazeneca vaccine a clean bill of health.
“As far as government is concerned, Astrazeneca vaccine is the best so far, it is what we are using and it is working for us. The vaccine is being used in over 70 countries in six continents of the world and there is no side effect. About 17 million doses of the vaccine have been administered globally and 37 cases of blood clothing have been reported which is very insignificant.
“Most of our leaders have taken the vaccine like the President, Vice President, Senate President, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to confirm that the vaccine is safe. Our religious and traditional leaders have also endorsed this vaccine,” he said.
Ehanire also said that some Embassies and their Ambassadors had come to ask for this vaccine because they could not go back home to take it.
While welcoming the religious leaders, the Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said that contrary to the reports linking the Astrazeneca vaccine to incidence of blood clotting, health regulatory bodies had established that the COVID-19 vaccine was safe and had no adverse side effects.
“The good news is that yesterday, the umbrella body responsible for regulating medicine in Europe, the European Medicine Agency released the outcome of their investigation and declared that the vaccine is safe and there is no relationship between it and blood clotting. That is very massive and welcome development,” he said