Media organisations in Nigeria have been admonished to utilise their platforms in advancing the importance of COVID-19 vaccination to all parts of Nigeria.
Mr Peter Hawkins, the Country Representative of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday that the role of the media was very important.
Hawkins who visited NAN’s headquarters in Abuja to intimate the agency on the launch of an initiative for youths, said that it was imperative for people to understand the risks of not getting vaccinated.
NAN reports that UNICEF is partnering with the Federal Government of Nigeria to inaugurate Generation Unlimited, an initiative which targets 20 million Nigerian youths for empowerment by 2030.
Hawkins said that the people must be told that the risk of not getting vaccinated far outweighed any risk of complications from the vaccine.
“The importance of what we are trying to do is to encourage all journalists to encourage people to take the vaccines.
“The consequences of not taking the vaccines can outweigh any risk that might be associated with small or limited risk that might be associated with the vaccines.
“We are encouraging the media to use their communication mechanism platforms to encourage people to take the vaccines, and it is critical to protect ourselves, families and our communities.
“If we do not protect our communities, it will hit these communities in some stage if they are unvaccinated, so keep talking and encouraging people to take the vaccines,” he said.
The UNICEF Representative commended Nigeria for its swift response to the pandemic and the effective utilisation of radio and other digital tools to disseminate information to its populace.
He, however, stressed that the pandemic was not over and as such there was the need for all to continue to take preventive measures to curtail its spread.
“It is advisable for people to continue to take the preventive measures of wearing mask, washing of hands and the social distancing.
“This is so important that we continue to adhere to the instructions irrespective of what the situation is now.
“On the COVID-19 vaccination, already, Nigeria has received four million vaccines and all of them have been used, 2.3 million have been vaccinated once and 1.4 million have received their second doses, and more vaccines are coming soon for them to finish their second doses .
“Four million will come in over the next couple of weeks , 700, 000 will come in and they will start rolling in before the end of the year,” he said.
Hawkins added that the plan as received from the Ministry of Health in Nigeria was for 112 million people to have been vaccinated by 2022. (NAN)