COVID-19: Group Mobilises PWDs For Vaccination

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An NGO, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), has mobilised no fewer than 50 persons with disabilities (PWDs) for COVID-19 vaccination in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the mobilisation took place shortly after a one-day sharing of experience by stakeholders’ forum on COVID-19 vaccination and citizens with disabilities, organised by CCD, on Tuesday.

CCD Executive Director, Mr David Anyaele, said that the mobilisation for the vaccination was sequel to the outcry on alleged discrimination and lack of prioritisation of PWDs for the vaccination.

According to him, PWDs have not been prioritised in all governments’ plans, policies and programmes relating to COVID-19 as well as its protocols and guides.

“Even in the arrangements to cushion the effect of the pandemic, PWDs have not been truly prioritised, and this calls for concern, especially since we appear to be the most vulnerable,’’ he said.

Mr Idris Bello, Director, Special Needs, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), who mobilised the vaccination officers, lauded the initiative of the group to mobilise PWDs for vaccination.

Bello said that NPHCDA was working tirelessly to vaccinate those who made themselves available, especially people with underlying health challenges and the elderly.

According to him, the first dose of the vaccination is on-going nationwide, adding that the vaccine is safe with little or no side effects.

“We strongly advise everyone to get vaccinated 12 weeks before taking the second dose of the vaccine.

“We want Nigerians to clear their doubts and disbelief that COVID -19 vaccine is a Nigerian thing. This is not true.

“It is a global process, and proof of vaccination is now needed to travel from one country to another as well as a negative COVID -19 test result of not more than 48 hours.

“Those who fail to take the first dose of the vaccine will not be eligible for the second dose, which completes the vaccination dosage,’’ he said.

The director urged the group to continue to sensitise and mobilise PWDs on the vaccination and its importance.

Mr James Lalu, Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWDs), who was first to be vaccinated at the temporary vaccination centre, lauded the promptness of NPHCDA in conducting the exercise.

While also expressing satisfaction with the swift vaccination process, he urged PWDs not to resist the vaccination or entertain any fear.

“NCPWD will soon be embarking on campaigns across all the geo-political zones on the COVID -19 vaccine and the need for PWDs to get vaccinated.

“This is to erase the fears in their minds so that they too can avail themselves of the opportunity of nationwide vaccination.

“It is for their own good, and the process is simple, easy and not life or health-threatening in any way,’’ he said.

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Disability, Mrs Mariam Onuoha, urged Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to exploit all available platforms to reach out to the citizens, especially the PWDs.

She also lauded the efforts of NCDC and NPHCDA for the smooth running of the vaccination and urged them to continue to prioritise PWDs in all vaccination centres.

NAN reports that other PWDs, stakeholders and members of the forum also expressed satisfaction with the vaccination process and the easy access.

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