The speaker of the house of representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has advised Nigerians not to believe conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccines.
Many Nigerians are wary about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine amid unverified claims that it contains microchips.
Faisal Shuaib, chief executive officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), had recently dismissed the claims as false.
The first shipment of the vaccines– 3.9 million doses– arrived in Nigeria on Tuesday and the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine was administered today.
Speaking at the national flag-off ceremony for the COVID-19 vaccination in Abuja, Gbajabiamila urged Nigerians to rally behind the federal government to fight the pandemic.
He also cautioned against playing politics with the vaccination.
“We must not play politics with vaccines; we must not play politics with the health of our neighbour; we must be on the same page while we also correct and do what you need to do in terms of your role in checking the government and holding their feet to the fire”, Gbajabiamila said.
“This is the time for Nigerians to rally round the government. Like the Secretary to the Government of the Federation has said, the virus knows no creed, knows no religion, knows no ethnicity, knows no sex, and knows no age.
“So, it is important for all of us to come together as a country to fight the pandemic. As I have often said, we are actually in a war, but in a war with an unseen enemy.
“Therefore, when a country goes to war, you go as one. I want to implore the journalists and implore all Nigerians, therefore, not to give in to conspiracy theories because we will hear them.
“The vaccines being introduced in the country are safe and effective.”
Boss Mustapha, chairman of the presidential task force on COVID-19, said the ceremony was just the beginning of a well-detailed vaccination plan that would reach every eligible Nigerian at the appropriate time.
“The vaccines will be arriving in batches and I urge all Nigerians to be patient with relevant agencies of the federal government and sub-national entities managing the deployment process,” he said.
The PTF chairman appealed to Nigerians not to patronise fraudsters and endanger their lives.
President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo will receive the COVID-19 vaccine publicly on Saturday while governors of all the 36 states and their deputies will be vaccinated on March 10.