By Salisu Sani-Idris
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has declared that no vaccine would be brought to Nigeria unless certified safe and effective.
The Executive Secretary of the agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, made the assertion in at a national sensitisation programme on COVID-19 vaccines for Muslim scholars and Imams in Nigeria in Wednesday in Abuja
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme was organised by the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), under the leadership of His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III.
Shuaib disclosed that the agency was working with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the regulatory agency meant to certify the safe use of the vaccines.
“I want to assure you that no vaccine will be brought to Nigeria unless it has been certified safe and effective for use.
“We are working with NAFDAC, the regulatory agency that will certify these vaccines are safe.
“We will rather have no vaccine in Nigeria than to bring a bad vaccine to Nigeria,” he said.
According to the executive secretary, the agency is working with both Muslim and Christian faithful through the processes of receiving and delivering the vaccines to the communities.
“The NSCIA will be with us just like we have our Christian brothers also with us in all conversations around the vaccine,” he said.
The agency, Shuaib said, was working hard to make sure that it effectively communicated on how the vaccine works and why people should take it.
“We also want to listen to the concerns of Nigeria, understand what those concerns are and help them get better understanding of how vaccine works,” he said.
Earlier, the Sultan of Sokoto, who reiterated that COVID-19 was real, urged Nigerians to abide by all the established COVID-19 protocols to avoid contracting the virus.
The Sultan, who is also the President-General of NSCIA, urged Muslim scholars and Imams to intensify efforts at educating their followers.
According to him, followers are to be educated on the risk factors associated with COVID-19 and the importance of accepting the vaccine.
Meanwhile, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, Secretary-General of NSCIA, noted that Muslim scholars and Imams, more than other stakeholders, played very critical role in shaping the thoughts and practice of the Muslim Ummah.
“We hope to leverage on your immense goodwill; reliable, tested and trusted influence on the populace, built over the years, to sensitise and promote vaccines acceptability among the Muslim Ummah across the country,” he said.
NAN reports that the programme had in attendance the Emir of Keffi, Dr Shehu Yamusa III and the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar.
The FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello, represented by Dr Mohammed Kawu, acting Secretary, FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat was also present.