Tuesday, March 16, 2021 11:34 pm
By Chukwuemeka Opara
The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu has assured Nigerians of the safety and efficacy of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID 19
Ihekweazu gave the assurance on Tuesday in Abakaliki while handing over the newly constructed molecular laboratory to the management of the Alex-Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki.
He said that in spite of reports of some European countries discontinuing with the vaccine’s application, Nigerians should believe in its safety and efficacy.
“We are very confident of the vaccine we introduced in the country and that it would become a game changer in the fight against COVID 19.
“I and other front line staff have been vaccinated and I am still standing,” he said
The director general said that no medical intervention in the world had saved more lives than vaccines, calling for more education of Nigerians on the vaccine’s safety.
“We should tell Nigerians that though faith is important in what we believe, the issue of vaccination is about science.
“When we believe that doctors, nurses and other health personnel can provide us with healthcare based on understanding of science, we should then believe in the vaccine’s efficacy,” he said.
He noted that the molecular laboratory was part of the federal government’s proactive steps to check COVID-19 and would be continually equipped to meet required needs.
“This edifice underscores the importance of effective collaboration between the federal, state governments and the private sector in providing adequate healthcare to Nigerians,” he said.
Alhaji Tijani Ramalan, Chairman of the hospital’s governing board, said that the molecular laboratory would project the hospital as an important player in the league of advanced hospitals.
“It is, therefore, a further giant step in our vision to make the hospital, a world medical tourism destination in Nigeria,” he said.
Dr Emeka Ogah, Chief Medical Director of the hospital, commended the NCDC director general for his dogged efforts towards realising the project, describing him as a great motivator.
“We applied the lesson learnt in managing lassa fever in checking COVID 19 as this new laboratory would enhance our overall service delivery,” he said.
Dr Daniel Umezurike, state Commissioner for Health said that the state government had invested heavily in its health sector and would continue collaborating with institutions such as AE-FUNAI to provide adequate healthcare to its people.