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18.03.2021 CoronaPolice How the Public are Being Discouraged from Taking COVID-19 Vaccines at Sangotedo Centre

Published 18th Mar, 2021

By Adeola Oladipupo

Following the commencement of Covid-19 vaccination by the Lagos State Government, a recipient has told FIJ that some people loitering around the premises of the vaccine centre discourage persons who come for the inoculation by spreading falsehood.

On Thursday, the recipient, who did not want to be named, had gone to the Sangotedo Primary Health Centre, one of the 88 accredited facilities announced by the state government on March 15, to get vaccinated on Thursday morning.

She noticed that persons who intended getting vaccinated turned back at the gate after some people told them that the vaccines were unsafe.

“One of them mentioned 5G radiation; that was the most ridiculous one,” she said.

“Another person mentioned the blood clot situation and the countries that had suspended the vaccine. One of them said that she knows a family member that got the virus after receiving the vaccine.

“They were just saying a bunch of things, even things that are not related. And there are people who turned back after listening to these things.”

The recipient told FIJ that she reported to the nurses that three persons were discouraging people from coming in to get the vaccine “but they (nurses) didn’t mind me”.

“To be honest, the nurses were overworked; the queue was long. Should they decide to take a break, people would tell them to not leave. I could understand that it was difficult for them to excuse themselves,” she explained.

FIJ gathered that at the centre, officials struggled to manage the queue and it was difficult for potential vaccine recipients to identify the location for the inoculation.

“Initially, I was confused as I did not know where to go because there were a number of canopies there. It was when I saw a woman checking temperature in front of one of the canopies that I figured that was where the vaccines were given,” she said.

“There was a bit of hassle; you know all these ‘strategic leaders’ will come in, jump the queue and walk straight to the table when other people also in a priority group had been there since eight in the morning. So the problem was with the queue.”

She was made to re-register despite signing up on March 2 and provided answers to questions, including her occupation, pre-existing medical conditions and allergy.

“They asked if I had eaten; if I hadn’t eaten, I should go outside and eat. So I was given the vaccine and told to sit down and wait for them to observe me for 15 to 20 minutes before they would let me go,” she noted.

“I really didn’t feel like anything, it’s just like normal immunisation. The arm, the place where they gave it to me hurt a bit like immunisations typically do. I’m a bit exhausted but they said that feeling exhausted and maybe sleeping are part of it. After effects would go on their own after two or three days, but if they don’t, I might need to come back.”

Over a dozen countries in Europe suspended the use of the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine following reports of less than 40 cases of blood clots. About 17 million people had been given the inoculation across Europe. CNN reported that both the European Medicine Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organisation said there was currently no evidence of a link with blood clotting, with the EMA adding that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.

Weeks ago, Nigeria received about 3.92 million doses – the first shipment of the over 18 million doses allotted to the country – of the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. The doses had since been shared among states and the FCT. Lagos received 507,742 doses of the vaccine.

As of March 16, figures from the Lagos State Government showed that 12,720 people had been vaccinated in the state.

“It is a gamble of which one I fear the most; I would rather not get Covid,” she said about why she decided to take the vaccine. 

“Healthcare workers are priority… So I don’t think we’ll be offering our healthcare workers up as sacrifices if we are skeptical about it because they are the only ones that can save us if indeed the vaccines go wrong.”

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Published 18th Mar, 2021

By Adeola Oladipupo

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