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You can’t force COVID-19 vaccination on people, enlighten them, Nigerian Medical Association advises FG

BY SEYIFUNMI LUMEKO

The General Secretary of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Philips Ekpe, has advised the Federal Government not to force COVID-19 vaccination on Nigerians, adding that the people have the right to reject medical treatment.

According to him, rather than the COVID-19 vaccine jab being forced on Nigerians, the government should enlighten the people on the need to be vaccinated.

While the NMA said the people had the right to reject vaccines the same way they could reject medical treatment, Joint Health Sector Union, JOHESU stated that the move to make vaccination compulsory was senseless. Ekpe said this in an interview with The PUNCH on Tuesday.

Recall that the Federal Government, on Tuesday, said it might sanction anybody who refused to take COVID-19 vaccines after they had been made available to all Nigerians.

The Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, gave the hint of possible sanctions at a press briefing in Abuja.

Shuaib had on Tuesday stated that the Federal Government might toe the line of Edo State and Ondo State governors who are attempting to make COVID-19 vaccination compulsory for its residents before they can have access to public services.

Shuaib said: “The Presidential Steering Committee and the Federal Ministry of Health are exploring ways of making vaccines more available to all Nigerians, including federal civil servants and corporate entities.

“Once these vaccines are made equitably available to all Nigerians, then we will need to have a frank discussion about justice, fairness and liberty that exist around vaccine hesitancy.

“If some individuals refuse to take the vaccine, hence endangering those who have or those who could not due to medical exemptions, then we have to apply the basic rule of law, which stipulates that your human right stops where mine begins.

“So, you have a right to refuse vaccines, but you do not have the right to endanger the health of others.”

Meanwhile, the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Tuesday, barred the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, from enforcing compulsory COVID-19 vaccination in the state.

Obaseki had last week said any resident of the state, who refused to take the vaccine, would be barred from public places and large gatherings.

Toeing the way of Governor Obaseki,  on Monday, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State said it would bar those without proof of vaccination from churches, mosques and other public places.

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