…….says about 1,000 health workers infected since outbreak

The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has assured that it is safe to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, urging Nigerians to discard misgivings they have about it and make themselves available for vaccination when the time comes.

Chairman of the Delta state chapter of the association, Dr. Emmanuel Nwose, accompanied by other executive members, stated this during a ‘School COVID-19 Awareness Programme,’ held at Unity Model Secondary School, Agbarho in Ughelli North council area of the state.

It will be noted that 3.92 million doses of di AstraZeneca vaccine arrived Nigeria last Tuesday.

According to him, the pandemic really impacted on the lives of health workers due to increased workload on practitioners, adding that an estimated 1,000 health workers have been infected in the state.

“With the pandemic, a lot of people became sick, the facilities were stretched and manpower was also stretched. The lives of health workers were really put at risk. You know the health worker manages the patient directly, so by virtue of that many got infected. Some even died at the end of the day.

“As I’m speaking Delta NMA has lost three notable doctors in this state to this pandemic. Other health workers, nurses, health assistants, messengers whose number I cannot give you now, have also died. In every way, it has impacted so much on the health workforce.

“The estimate range is like a thousand because even some did not report their cases, but managed their cases quietly. Most doctors, nurses have been infected and they recovered.

“That is why we are here today. The best way to control it is to go to the community because if the community does the needful, the pressure on the health workforce will be reduced.

“We also want to tell the general public that with the arrival of the vaccines, whatever misgivings they have, they shouldn’t fail to take the vaccines whenever it is made available to them because taking it is one of the quickest way we can come out of this pandemic.

“The vaccine was scientifically and produced and tested. There is no ulterior motive about the vaccine. It was produced like any other drug that has been produced. Ethical principles were followed to the latter and nothing was compromised.

“The vaccine is safe, it is effective and it is reliable. It is not meant to harm anybody or indoctrinated anybody. The vaccine is for the control of a disease called COVID-19 and that is what we are preaching. This is not the first vaccine, as we have for many other diseases.

“In Delta state, we have gone to the State Primary Health Care Development Agency and their facilities are prepared to receive the vaccine. So yes, we have verified that Delta State have the facility to receive the vaccine,” Nose stated.

The acting principal of the school, Mrs. Enweliku Matilda, expressed appreciation to the association for the gesture, promising that the school’s management will ensure that COVID-19 protocols are sustained.

The enlightenment programme also saw a lecture by the chairman, NMA Committee on Infectious Disease, Delta state, represented by his secretary, Dr. Ilikannu Samuel.

Highlight of the programme was the demonstration of precautionary measures against the virus by NMA officials, as well as students of the school and donation of preventive items to the school by the NMA.