The Rivers State Government has begun the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination in the state to curb the spread of the viral infection.
Inaugurating the exercise on Tuesday in Port Harcourt, Governor Nyesom Wike described it as “historic” in the fight against COVID-19.
Mr Wike said the outbreak of the pandemic has greatly affected the livelihood and health of citizens.
“We are, therefore, thankful to God to have another layer of medical intervention in the form of a vaccine to help reduce infection, promote immunity and restore social confidence,” he said.
The governor, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, said the state government’s effort in containing the disease was strategic after the state recorded its first case on March 25, 2020.
Mr Wike said, in both waves of the pandemic, the state government synergised with the private sector and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to achieve an acceptable level of public health.
“The vaccine used in this campaign has received authorisation by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and are, therefore, effective and safe for administration.
“They will help reduce disease transmission, disease severity, and death from COVID-19.
“I, therefore, encourage you to follow the guidelines for the vaccine roll-out and avail yourselves of the opportunity to be protected from this deadly virus and to protect others,” he said.
The governor explained that the first phase of the vaccination was mainly for frontline healthcare workers and strategic leaders, saying more citizens would get vaccinated in the following weeks.
The state’s Commissioner for Health, Princewill Chike, commended Mr Wike for his “dogged response and strategic leadership” in fighting COVID-19 in the state.
“With a particular test of COVID-19 costing N50,000 for now, Rivers State has collected over 135,000 samples, and the cost was borne by the state government,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that government functionaries, including the deputy governor, the attorney-general, State chairperson of Peoples Democratic Party were vaccinated.
Also vaccinated were the state’s Commissioner for Health, Chief of Staff to the governor and the Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, among others.
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