The Executive Chairman, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BASPHCDA), Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, has disclosed that five persons were arrested by a task force, made up of security agencies for COVID-19 vaccination card racketeering.
Mohammed made the disclosure when COVID-19 Champions, CITAD supported NGO, led by Halima Ibrahim visited the Agency to seek permission to embark on a rural enlightenment campaign about the COVID vaccine.
The agency boss said vaccination card racketeering and the negative effects of social media messages were major setbacks in the smooth administration of the COVIDd-19 vaccine in the state.
He said, “In collaboration with the police, army and ICPC, we have been able to arrest some people who were buying the vaccine cards without taking the injection. They are now with the security agencies undergoing investigations.
“Many people who shunned the jab when flagged off by the Governor, his Deputy and House of Assembly Speaker later contracted the virus.
“Some people who got vaccinated and felt the mild side effects of the vaccine were giving others negative narratives. Some were placing metal and other objects on the spot of the jab to get people to reject it”.
“We carried out a mass campaign on social media and moved to the rural areas for enlightenment.”
Dr Mohammed lamented that many of the state’s health workers and academics are leading in the resistance to the vaccine, warning that their actions are serving as a setback for vaccination efforts.
He said the social media is a major setback for the exercise, adding that people were posting unfounded negative insinuations against the efficacious nature of the COVID-19 vaccine.
In his words, “the medical and the university community, the professors and others are the worst in the rejection of the vaccine.
“One of the things that are fueling the trouble is the social media. It is a stumbling block to achieving the aim of the vaccination.”
He likened the current resistance to the COVID-19 vaccine to a similar problem faced during polio vaccine campaigns in the state, saying delightfully that despite the resistance then, the state was able to achieve a polio-free status.
“This is not new to us, we faced similar problems during the polio campaign from people we tag ‘the evildoers of vaccination’. They are there everywhere.
“In fact, I was attacked twice but we endured it and today, we are polio-free as we were able to kick polio out of the country,” Mohammed said.
He said despite some conspiracy theories against the COVID-19 vaccine, the World Health Organization (WHO) approved about 35 types for emergency use, though each country was at liberty to develop its own vaccine provided it was safe.
“These vaccines were approved for emergency use, about 35 different types of them, by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency purposes. Each country is free to produce its own but they have to look at the safety and efficiency because initially so many people came up with their theories and there are obstacles that they want to block these vaccines.
“Their major campaign is that the vaccine is for reducing fertility to reduce population. The second one is the fear that the vaccine will kill a person within two years.
“The third one is the demonstration of using metal to stick to the point of the vaccination to scare people,” the BSPHCDA boss said.
“The main thing causing our own problems is some of the reactions of the vaccines, most especially mild reactions forgetting that each drug has its reaction because of the composition of the body.
“There is an antigen, antibody reaction, mild weakness, mild fever when one takes a chemical like this. There is fighting between the immunity and the body to take care of the person.”
Dr Mohammed then assured that despite all these, the COVID vaccine is efficient and effective and can be used to protect people from the COVID-19 infection.
He urged people to make themselves available for the vaccination, which, according to him, was ongoing across the state.
He, however, said, “the vaccines will not be administered to those who are sick; it is only for those who are healthy.”
Five arrested for COVID-19 vaccination card racketeering in Bauchi