After repeatedly doubting the existence of the disease, Kogi State is finally set to start administering the COVID-19 vaccine to its residents.
Its Commissioner for Health, Saka Haruna, told TheCable in a telephone interview that the state will receive doses of the vaccine today ahead of the rollout.
Haruna also said the residents will be given “unhindered access to receive the vaccine”.
Kogi is the only state yet to begin administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to residents, three weeks after the country began its rollout.
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) had attributed the delay to two factors: The state’s “concerns around the contradictory information about the vaccines” and the non-repair of its cold-chain store.
When the vaccine doses arrived Nigeria, the state governor, Yahaya Bello, had repeatedly denied the existence of COVID-19 in Kogi, insisting that the vaccination was among their least concerns.
Bello said: “COVID-19 is just a minute aspect of what we’re treating in Kogi State. I’m not going to subject the people of Kogi State to vaccination, or I will not make them guinea pigs.”
Haruna, in the interview yesterday, said: “Everything” is set for the state to start the vaccination rollout.
“We have done the micro-planning and everything has been completed with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
“Anybody that is willing to receive the vaccine (will receive it); nobody is exempted. And nobody will be forced to receive the vaccine,” the commissioner said in the phone interview.
The official also said the state will announce further plans, including the location of the vaccination launch after receiving the supplies
He, however, failed to confirm if the state government officials, particularly the governor, will receive the vaccine.
“The governor does not have to receive the vaccine before others will; I don’t think there is anything special about COVID that we have to bring the governor out to come and receive the vaccine,” he said.