Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 has been identified as a demonstration of patriotism and love for oneself and society.
The observation was part of the key points emanating from a one day State level media engagement meeting on Covid-19 organised by Ebonyi State Ministry of Health on Thursday, in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development-funded Integrated Health Program, IHP.
The State Immunization Officer in the Ministry, Nnanna Kalu, while explaining that the COVID-19 virus with its recent variants were real and still killing people across the globe, urged Ebonyi residents who have not gotten immunised to urgently do so, adding that there was no alternative to it at present.
He emphasized that the vaccines were available and free, while vaccinations were ongoing in the 56 vaccination posts across the State, having between 4 and 5 designated centres in each local government area.
Kalu further explained that there were three brands of the vaccination available in Nigeria, comprising AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
He noted that apart from Johnson & Johnson which is reserved for hard-to-reach areas, the other two required two separate jabs to make a complete dosage.
He pointed out that for the Astrazeneca vaccine, the second should be taken after six weeks of the first dose, while moderna vaccine second dose should be taken four weeks after the first dose.
Nnanna stressed: “it is a demonstration of love to take the COVID- 19 vaccine.
“You are saving yourself, saving your family and loved ones; your neighbours and the society at large.”
One of the resource persons and the IHP COVID-19 Risk Communication and Community Engagement Consultant, Toyeke Adedipe, in her presentation, noted that COVID-19 vaccination was very easy and totally safe for all classes of persons, including pregnant women and nursing mothers who are not positive to the virus as the time of presentation.
Adedipe explained: “AstraZeneca is given as second dose for those who had their first dose before July 8, 2021, while it is currently given as first dose to those who are yet to be vaccinated.
“Moderna is currently given as first dose for those who are yet to be vaccinated.
“Most brands of COVID 19 vaccines require 2 doses with varying intervals between the doses.
“You need to complete your doses for full protection against the virus.
“Let me warn that the COVID 19 vaccines should not be mixed: Workd Health Organisation does not recommend that.
“So ensure your second dose is with the same vaccine brand as your 1st dose.
The consultant allayed fears of Adverse effects following COVID-19 immunization, stating that only isolated mild effects in the likes of fatigue, headache, chills, slight fever, pain or numbness at the site of vaccination have been noticed, which often disappears within three days.
She however, advised that, should the symptoms persist, such a person ought to consult any nearest health centre for care.
The Executive Secretary, State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA), Kate Barry Oko in her remarks, further urged Ebonyi residents to take serious the issue of COVID 19 vaccination while praying for divine intervention towards eradicating the scourge from human race.
While explaining that getting immunised neutralises the severe effects of the virus upon exposure, he called on the Media to help spread the right information regarding the pandemic, saying: “the media is an indispensable partner in the fight against COVID -19 and other health challenges.”
All resource persons and participants at the training were unanimous in agreement that preventive behaviours were germane to ending the pandemic.
They advised that even those vaccinated should continue to wear face masks, wash hands regularly and observe other COVID- 19 safety measures to stay protected.
Meanwhile, the State Health Educator, Ministry of Health, Prescilia Ajaodi, siezed the opportunity offered by the training to advise mothers to take advantage of the ongoing poliomyelitis general vaccination exercise in the State to immunize their children against the virus with its recent variants.
She explained that the ongoing immunisation was for all children from 0-5 years whether or not he/she has been vaccinated before.