COVID-19 vaccination: UNICEF urges leaders to play key roles

Leaders in strategic positions of life have been charged to take  lead roles in the drive to encourage Nigerians to take the COVID-19 vaccine.The leaders outlined at an ongoing media dialogue workshop in Yola  Adamawa, included governors, lawmakers, traditional rulers, religious leaders, market leaders, health workers and others.The workshop was organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau  (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with

UNICEF.Speaking at the workshop, Mrs Elizabeth Onitolo, Communication for Development (C4D) Specialist, UNICEF, noted that leaders must play their role if the required results  to prevent and stop COVID-19 are to be achieved.“We need COVID-19 vaccine to stop this pandemic; vaccines work with the immune system and that is why we need to be vaccinated.“Widespread use of vaccine can reduce spread in the community and chances of a new variant coming up. It will also, peharps, reduce the chances of lockdown.“For us to get out of this pandemic, all hands must be on deck. We must all work together; everyone must be on the same page,”

she stressed.According to the C4D Specialist,   leaders and influencers  should  commit resources and time to ensure  COVID-19 vaccination  achieves the desired result.According to her, community engagement, social mobilisation and advocacy are needed  to make the exercise a success.She disclosed that there were over 200 vaccines presently undergoing trials all over the world, adding that, three prospective vaccines from Nigeria were also on the trials list.

The C4D Specialist also called on  community and market leaders to be well -informed in order to give correct information on COVID-19 to members of their community.According to her, building partnerships  and alliances  at every every point of engagement will also go a long way to ensure that Nigerians know the benefits of taking the full doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. (NAN)