23 days since Nigeria received the first batch of AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine doses, not less than 11 governors are yet to publicly take the COVID-19 vaccine jab
A good number of them have relied on their deputies and health commissioners to launch the vaccination without publicly taking the vaccine following the temporary ban of the AstraZeneca vaccine in some European countries which further creates doubts about the safety of the vaccine.
While the rest have for reasons based on speculation refused to begin the campaign for Covid-19 inoculation in their states.
The governors who are yet to publicly take the COVID-19 jab include:
1 Mr. Seyi Makinde (Oyo State),
2 Chief Nyesom Wike (Rivers State),
3 Prof. Ben Ayade (Cross River State),
4 Mr. Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom),
5 Mr. Samuel Ortom (Benue State),
6 Mr Bello Matawalle (Zamfara State),
7 Mr. Yahaya Bello (Kogi State),
8 Senator Douye Diri (Bayelsa State),
9 Mr. Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi State),
10 Chief Darius Ishaku (Taraba State) and
11 Mr Mai Mala Buni (Yobe State).
In the defence of Cross River State’s governor Prof Ben Ayade, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu explained that Ayade was yet to receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine because the guidelines required the prioritization of frontline health workers and he did not consider himself as one.
She added that the governor had also been away in Abuja when the state received its share of the vaccine, a total of 53,840 doses on March 10.
In Oyo State, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Bashir Bello, confirmed that the state received a total of 127,740 doses of the AstraZeneca brand of the vaccine but was still putting in place measures to perfect the vaccination process, especially in view of complaints in some countries, particularly European nations such as Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and France.
He said the state had put in place precautions to protect anyone vaccinated from risk.
He explained: “We, too, in Oyo State have to take some basic precautionary measures. One of the measures was that we ensure first of all, because of the potency of the vaccine, the type we got was the one that can only operate within two degree centigrade to eight-degree centigrade, which we have at our Jericho Cold Store.
“We are trying to ensure that the state modifies its own website because it is a national website for those intending to take the jabs and this has given rise to some misconceptions because some people wrongfully thought Oyo State has got the vaccine and they don’t know what we are doing.
“So, we are trying to take the precautions along with the vaccination procedure.” The Akwa Ibom State government on Saturday officially commenced the public vaccination but the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, kick-started the exercise on behalf of the governor.
The governor who currently remains on the list of governors shying away from the vaccine has encouraged people in his state to get vaccinated.
In Bayelsa State, the vaccination was kicked off by the state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, as the governor was said to be outside the state.
Newsmen also gathered that the vaccination of frontline workers and others was scheduled to be launched in Yobe State over the weekend but the exercise did not hold because Buni was in Abuja for another state function.
Meanwhile, the governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello has openly refused vaccination.