Nigerians seeking to get the Covid-19 vaccine have expressed their displeasure with the discriminatory nature of the exercise at Ikate Primary Health Centre in Lagos.
Since the country took delivery of 3.92 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine from India, many Nigerians, especially the elite, have enrolled to be vaccinated across the nation. With 162,178 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,031 deaths, Nigeria is aiming to vaccinate 40% of its people this year, and a further 30% in 2022.
While many citizens of the country are scared of getting vaccinated, others who want to be recipients of the vaccine have accused health officials of prejudice and discrimination.
Essential workers and older people who arrived at Ikate Health Centre as early as 7am. on Thursday lamented that getting vaccinated was not a first-come-first-served thing. They also accused the health officials of classism and favouritism.
In a video obtained by FIJ, the potential recipients of the vaccine were seen lamenting bitterly that the health officials prioritised people of affluence who came in exotic cars and got vaccinated without following the queue.
“Nobody’s life is more important than the other,” one woman said.
“People have been strolling in and out and getting vaccinated and you say you don’t have cards,” another man added.
Elderly people, including a 96-year-old man, who had arrived at the centre as early as 6am were ignored while priority was placed on potential recipients “who drove in SUVs”.
Twitter user Ulo Uloma, who was also at the Ikate Health Centre for several hours, told FIJ on Thursday: “I’m presently at a health centre in Ikate and people are coming in with their SUVs & having the vaccines sold to them before our very eyes. I AM PISSED!”
I think the people who dragged that lady for saying that Nigerian health centres are selling the vaccines owe her a huge apology. I’m presently at a health centre in Ikate & people are coming in with their SUVs & having the vaccines sold to them before our very eyes. I AM PISSED!
— ULOMA (@ulxma) March 25, 2021
Charging the Governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to look into the matter, she said: “Can you explain why people have been sitting and waiting here at Ikate Primary Health Centre to be vaccinated and they are being ignored while others are walking in and getting vaccinated through the backdoor?”
“Just spoke to some health workers and they’re also frustrated. They said they haven’t even gotten the vaccines themselves and that they’re only obeying orders from above to distribute vaccines to ‘special’ individuals and that it isn’t in their place to disobey those orders.
“So, technically, they aren’t ‘selling’ the vaccines. They’re only obeying orders. And that is why older people and frontline workers have been denied the vaccine while people are trooping in and getting it through the backdoor.”
Mimi Onyekwere, another Twitter user, attested to Uloma’s claims and accused health officials of selling the Covid-19 vaccine that was supposed to be free.
“I can confirm this. The Matron gave us a silly speech about how they’ll prioritize old people and essential workers,” she said. “Next thing, they’re selling the vaccines Loudly crying face. Doctors and Nurses have been here since 6am and not one of them could get in.”
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