Nigeria’s information minister Lai Mohammed has described his compatriots as “extremely futile in the imagination” over a claim by some that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe for Nigerians.
He stated on Wednesday that raising doubt on the propriety of using the four million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines donated by the U.S. is “fake, baseless and irresponsible.’’
The minister, a member of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, said contrary to the speculations, the Moderna vaccine was safe, approved by the World Health Organisation, and administered globally.
He added that the suspicion that Nigeria was used as a testing ground and Nigerians being guinea pigs for testing the vaccine was a “baseless, unscientific and deliberate attempt to dissuade people’’ from taking the vaccine.
“Nigerians are extremely futile in imagination. They will make statements that are baseless and not proved by science,” Mr Mohammed asserted. “Those who are saying this, is Nigeria the only country where Moderna vaccine is being administered? The answer is no. They should stop this nonsense because this kind of fake news is capable of discouraging people from taking the vaccine.’’
Mr Mohammed further urged Nigerians not to be dissuaded by the rumours, disinformation, and fake news on COVID-19 and the vaccines, noting that the vaccine was not harmful but meant to save lives, and Nigerians should come out to take it when the second batch is rolled out on August 16.
“COVID 19 is real, and the Delta variant is in Nigeria because we have been witnessing an increase in cases due to the variant that we have identified in many states,” the minister explained. “The variant is very virulent, highly transmissible, and it kills easily and faster. The only two ways for Nigerians to protect themselves is by taking the vaccine and observing the non-pharmaceutical protocols.”
He added that those travelling to and from restricted or non-restricted countries should submit themselves for necessary protocols and appealed to the media, religious and traditional rulers to join the PSC in sensitising the public that all the vaccines are WHO-approved and safe for use.
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