The Nigerian government says it is planning to clamp down on eligible citizens who refuse to vaccinate against COVID-19 amidst rising cases.
Faisal Shuaib, Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA), said vaccine refusers endanger other people, thereby causing the health system to collapse again amidst the third wave of the pandemic.
“If some individuals refuse to take the vaccine, hence endangering those who have or those who could not due to medical exemptions, then we have to apply the basic rule of law which stipulates that your human right stops where mine begins,” Shuaib said at a press briefing in Abuja, on Tuesday, Aug. 31.
“So, you have a right to refuse vaccines, but you do not have the right to endanger the health of others.”
He urged state governors to encourage citizens to take the COVID-19 vaccine as the federal government continues its expansion of the vaccination exercise across all 36 states.
In Edo state, the government had warned that any resident who failed to get vaccinated would not be allowed access to worship centres, banks, and other public places. However, a federal high court restrained the order mandating all residents of the state to get vaccinated.
In its first phase of vaccination drive, Nigeria administered 3.94 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines so far, with 2.5 million persons receiving at least one dose and 1.4 million being fully vaccinated.
The country started its second phase of vaccination, having received four million doses of the Moderna vaccine from the United States and acquired 177,600 doses of the single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine expected to be deployed to hard-to-reach places.
On Thursday, Aug. 26, the United Kingdom donated additional 592,880 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine for a second rollout.
The government said a resurgence of Covid-19 cases is being driven by the more contagious Delta variant.
Nigeria reported one death and 460 new COVID-19 infections, raising total confirmed cases to 191,805, on Monday, Aug. 30.
Rivers reported 164 cases, overtaking Lagos, the country’s epicentre of the pandemic, which reported 139. Following closely was Edo with 61 infections, and FCT with 37 infections. Bayelsa reported 20 cases while Oyo recorded 14 cases.
Other states with fresh cases are Plateau (7), Ogun (6), Anambra (4), Benue (4), Enugu (2), Cross River (1), and Kaduna (1).
More than 178,492 persons have recovered from the disease, as 2,455 have so far died of it.
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