The Director-General, Cross River Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Janet Ekpenyong, said no fewer than 27,000 residents have taken their first jab of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the state.
Ms Ekpenyong told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview on Monday in Calabar that eligible adults who took the vaccine “provided themselves voluntarily for the vaccination”.
According to her, “those who took the vaccine out of self-conviction have expressed their desires to complete their dosages in the next few weeks”.
Ms Ekpenyong, however, debunked some online reports that challenged the efficacy and quality of the vaccine been administered in the state.
She said such reports were capable of instigating fear in the minds of people.
Ms Ekpenyong said the state had begun the second phase vaccination drive and have been recording an impressive turnout among health workers, frontline workers and strategic leaders who had been presenting themselves for vaccination.
“As at today, over 27,000 health and front-line workers have been vaccinated in the State.
“The attention of the Cross River Primary Healthcare Development Agency, was drawn to a purported news making rounds which tries to instigate fear in the minds of Cross River residents over the efficacy, genuity and quality of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“The information is not only misleading but callous, ridiculous and scandalous with the publisher of the said news only trying to exaggerate common information at his disposal without engaging in a thorough check and balance system as professionals do.
“The news is not only misleading but exaggerated by ‘anti-vaxxers’ who are bent on discrediting the state’s efforts towards attaining a 100 per cent vaccination,” she said.
Ms Ekpenyong said adverse effects as reported by some online blogs were all made public before, during and after the exercise as part of the agency’s questions and answer protocols.
The DG explained that the effects were not peculiar to the COVID-19 vaccines, but all other vaccines for children, pregnant women as well as adults.
“Nobody, including health workers were forced to take the vaccine in Cross River, rather it was voluntary.
“The over 27,000 eligible adults who have already been vaccinated provided themselves voluntarily across the state due to self-conviction and have expressed their desire to complete their dosages in the next few weeks.
“There is no need to panic as the next phase of vaccination is slated for the coming weeks.
“We encourage our people to come out and get themselves immunised against the dreaded COVID-19,” she added.
She said that recognised institutions and professional groups were not left out in the sensitisation activities “as they played huge roles in mobilising healthcare workers for the exercise”.
The federal government in March, received more than 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and subsequently distributed it to states, with Cross River State taking delivery of 53,840 doses.
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