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UNICEF partners FG on children’s COVID-19 vaccination

By Anietie Akpan, Calabar
20 October 2021   |   4:12 am
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), partnering the Federal Government, will soon commence immunisation of children in Nigeria against the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

UNICEF office

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), partnering the Federal Government, will soon commence immunisation of children in Nigeria against the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

UNICEF Health Specialist and Officer in charge of Enugu Field Office, Dr. Olusoji Akinleye, dropped this hint at a recent Media Executive Meeting, in partnership with Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State (BCA), Umuahia, on ‘Child Rights-influenced Reporting on COVID-19’ in Enugu State.

Akinleye, who lamented that so many children had died of COVID-19, said: “In the next few months, Nigeria will start administering the vaccine on children under 12 years of age.”

On why the children’s vaccine was coming late, he said they were not getting the vaccines because a lot of processes were involved before any drug would be administered on children. He, however, called on parents to ensure that their children were protected, by adhering to the safety protocols.

The health specialist said though the Federal Government, UNICEF and other development agencies had made considerable progress to ensure the spread of the pandemic is brought under control through the importation and accessibility of vaccines, they are still faced with serious challenges in the areas of public hesitancy, unwillingness and conspiracies against the COVID-19 vaccines.

In this regard, Akinyele said: “We recognise the partnership in promoting and highlighting the right of every child to life. The very first right that every human being is supposed to have is the right to life; we recognise that the media have always supported the effort of government and partners, including UNICEF, in promoting right to health.

“UNICEF looks forward to more robust collaboration with the media and an expected upward trend in the promotion of health and hygiene practices by the media in Nigeria by daily communication to the public of protocols enforced by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

One of the resource persons, Dr. Obasi Chikezie from the Community Medicine Department, Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), expressed concern over the low coverage of the vaccines in Nigeria.

“About 80 per cent of people died of not knowing that they had COVID-19, while 20 per cent that survived had severe cases,” he stated.

On her part, UNICEF Communication Officer, Dr. Ijeoma Onuoha-Igwe, urged media practitioners to debunk rumours against the COVID-19 vaccines, but use their medium to speak positively on it.

Earlier, the Director-General, BCA, Anyaso Anyaso, commended UNICEF for championing the cause of women and children in the society, adding that the gathering was to harness both the media and UNICEF’s collective role in championing the welfare of women and children, especially in the COVID-19 era.