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KOGI: At last, Yahaya Bello bows to pressure, to begin Covid-19 rollout this week

WEEKS after other states had flagged off the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, the Yahaya Bello administration has signalled intention to start administering it to residents of Kogi.

Kogi is the only state yet to start administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to residents three weeks after Nigeria began its rollout.

Earlier, Governor Bello had said the pandemic was least of his concerns as his state had more important issues to grapple with.

Bello, who is known to be an inveterate doubter of the existence of the pandemic, had alleged the vaccines discovered for the treatment of the infection would kill rather than cure people.

“Covid-19 is just a minute aspect of what we’re treating in Kogi state. I’m not going to subject the people of Kogi state to vaccination, or I will not make them guinea pigs.” he had said.

When the Nigeria’s doses of AstraZeneca vaccines were shipped into the country the Kogi Governor said he would not allow his people to be used as “guinea pigs by vaccine manufacturers”.

But in an obvious volte-face, the state commissioner for Health, Saka Haruna, told journalists yesterday in a telephone interview that Kogi will receive doses of the vaccine today ahead of the rollout.

He also said the residents will be given “unhindered access to receive the vaccine”.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency had attributed the delay to two factors – the state’s “concerns around the contradictory information about the vaccines” and the non-repair of its cold-chain store.

Speaking with TheCable yesterday, Haruna said “everything” is set for the state to start the vaccination rollout.

“We have done the microplanning and everything has been completed with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency,” the commissioner said.

“Anybody that is willing to receive the vaccine (will receive it); nobody is exempted. And nobody will be forced to receive the vaccine.”

The official also said the state will announce further plans, including the location of the vaccination launch after receiving the supplies.

He, however, failed to confirm if state government officials particularly the governor will receive the vaccine.

“The governor does not have to receive the vaccine before others will; I don’t think there is anything special about Covid that we have to bring the governor out to come and receive the vaccine,” he said.

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