We Won’t Impose COVID-19 Vaccine On Muslims, Sultan Tells FG

As the vaccination against COVID-19 progresses in Nigeria, Islamic leaders have said they will not force any Muslim faithful to take the vaccine.

The Sultan of Sokoto and president-general of the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Sa’ad Abubakar, stated this on Friday in Abuja.

The Sultan spoke at an event tagged ‘Sensitization of Muslim Scholars and Imam on COVID-19 Vaccination’ organised by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.

Abubakar said he would not force anyone to take the vaccine, but would rather allow the people get the jabs voluntarily.

The Sultan’s position came amidst the controversy trailing the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine which is being used in the country.

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 had used the occasion to announce plans to commence vaccination of religious and traditional leaders so as to encourage their followers to receive the vaccine.

Present at the event were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire; and the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, amongst others.

THE WHISTLER recalls that frontline health workers were the first set of people to receive the vaccine, followed by members of the presidency and subsequently state governors.

In his remark, the PTF Chairman, Mustapha explained that the aim of the sensitization programme was to enhance public confidence in the inoculation process.

Health Minister, Ehanire, who reiterated that the vaccines were safe, expressed confidence that the involvement of religious and traditional leaders would speed up the administration of the vaccines.

The minister told the attendees that he has felt no aftereffect since he received his first dose of the vaccine.

On his part, the NPHCDA boss, Shuaib reaffirmed the statement from the European Union Medicines Council which okayed the further use of the vaccine after a previous decision to halt its use.

He added that the government decided to meet with members of the council to clarify the lingering controversy and commence mass vaccination.

To further boost the confidence of the public, governors of 35 out of 36 states have backed the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The governors who met on Thursday affirmed that the vaccine was safe and effective to boost the immune system of citizens against the virus.

The NPHCDA had said only Kogi was yet to receive its portion of the vaccine due to the lack of proper infrastructure (cold chain store) to accommodate the vaccine.

Recall that the Federal Government had warned that states with improper storage systems would not receive the vaccine.

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