Taking COVID-19 vaccine should be by choice – Sultan

Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, says nobody is under compulsion to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Sultan, therefore, advised that questions should be asked on storage capacity whenever the vaccine eventually get to Nigeria.

Abubakar, who is the President-General, Nigeria’s Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, stated this during the sensitisation programme on COVID – 19 vaccine for Muslim Scholars and Imams in Nigeria, facilitated by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency on Wednesday evening in Abuja.

Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, who also spoke at the event, assured the people that Nigeria would rather not have a vaccine than bring in the bad vaccine.

He assured that no vaccine would be brought into the country unless certified safe for use.

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“We would rather have no vaccine than to bring a bad vaccine to Nigeria,” he said.

Shuaib stressed that eradication of polio would not have been possible without the Sultan and others.

“We cannot make the same mistake twice. We are sensitising our religious leaders so that they will be able to communicate with their followers,” he said.

But the Sultan said, “I believe that we cannot force people to take vaccines. There are myths, people talk of conspiracy theory. The vaccine is meant to kill us, there are so many videos circulating, very negative videos. You can ask questions on that.

“By my own, I am not giving an answer to anything. If the vaccine is meant to kill us, will anybody wait for this COVID-19 vaccine before killing us? We have been taking Coca-Cola, Pepsi for several years.

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“Even the Panadol that is imported into the country before Emzor decided to have its Paracetamol, many drugs are imported from outside into Nigeria, now if anybody wants to kill us, there are a million and one ways to kill us. But I am not giving an answer to anything that the COVID-19 vaccine is this or that. The vaccines are free, we are not paying for the vaccine, it is your choice to take the vaccine.”

The Sultan, therefore, urged participants at the programme to ask questions on storage capacity when the vaccine eventually comes into Nigeria.

He added, “How is the storage capacity of our government? Because if the vaccines are not stored in a particular environment, they become useless, you will end up taking a vaccine that is useless.

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“If you are sure you don’t want to take the vaccine, ensure that you don’t give the disease to anybody. Before you say something is bad, you have to know that it is bad. Before saying that something is good, you have to know that it is good.

“Whether it will kill you or not, when the time comes, whether you take the vaccine or not, whether COVID or not, you must go. We will continue doing our best so that we will have a healthy society.”

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