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The Federal Government has announced its plan to take COVID-19 vaccination to Christian worship centres.

The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this during the sensitization of Christian leaders on the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination in Abuja.

He said it was part of the efforts to increase vaccination coverage against the virus in the country.

The Director said the move was to ensure that members of the religious communities who have not had access to the COVID-19 vaccine are allowed to be vaccinated at their worship places.

“I am glad to inform you that from this second phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, we have introduced Sunday vaccination.

“I must say that feedback from the field is very encouraging and I sincerely thank all Christian leaders who have given the vaccination team access to their churches and their members to receive COVID-19 vaccine during Sunday services,” he said.

Dr. Shuaib explained that Christian leaders across the country have been formidable pillars of support in all primary health care interventions and also in the elimination of the polio virus.

“Suffice to say that the Christian community contributed immensely to our achieving wild poliovirus certification last year and indeed our sustaining the country’s polio-free status for over a year now.

“I am aware that in the states and LGAs, representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria are strong and committed members of the Task Forces on Immunization,” he said.

He explained that arrangements have been made for corporate vaccination of eligible staff of Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), Private/corporate organisations, including faith-based organisation, their family members, dependants, and retirees to be vaccinated at their convenience.

Also speaking at the briefing, the minister of state for health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, urged Christian leaders to mobilise their members for vaccination.

He noted that the only way Nigerians can reciprocate the efforts of the government in securing the health of the populace was to access the vaccines provided.

“The highly dreaded delta variants are here with us, hence we must mobilise our congregation to quickly take the vaccines so that the government can get more,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the Christian leaders, the Executive Director, Nigeria Inter Faith Action Association, Sunday Onuorah, appealed to Christian leaders to partner with the government in promoting the vaccination campaign.

He said faith leaders were in a position to address misinformation while enhancing public health impact.

Assuring the government delegation, Bishop Onuora said, “Faith leaders have the capacity and moral authority; people believe in the pastors and leaders and with these groups of people, we can do so much within the Christian community and the Church in partnership with the government will make our people smile. “We are here because we know that faith leaders have the capacity and authority to effect a change of mind and drive acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines.”

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Julius Adegunna, a writer, and publisher of good news and reports. He is also a trainer in Writing and Publishing, a Media Consultant and an Entrepreneur. A 1987 Graduate of International Relations of the University of Ife, (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) with Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations, and Master in Communication Studies of Lagos State University. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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