In recent week, community health worker Hajiya Balkisu Yahaya took a bold step in collecting the vaccine from her colleagues who in return collected the vaccine shot also from Hajiya Balkisu Yahaya. Both health workers stand as vaccination teams to immunize against the COVID-19 disease in Nigeria’s Jigawa State and are among the first to receive the vaccine shot.
Hajiya Balkisu Yahaya who works at the Sakwaya Primary Healthcare Center in Dutse, the capital, said she took the vaccine shot to first protect her before protecting others.
In just two weeks of the arrival of the vaccine in Nigeria, Jigawa State is recording great turnout as relevant authorities kept in effort for the Astrazeneca Vaccine doses to be distributed, millions of which are available across Nigeria.
In the vaccination exercise so far, Jigawa has the second-highest turnout for the vaccine, second to Lagos State. Authorities in the state received 68,520 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and 33,508 persons have been vaccinated by March 29. The state has recorded 518 of the 162,593 COVID-19 cases in Nigeria by the same date.
According to Hajiya Balkisu even with uncertainty among some of the residents, the turn out still shows success in the exercise.
Mr Hassan Shaibu Kwallam, the State Immunization Officer stated the huge part of the state to overcome the fear of the vaccine while registering an impressive turnout is possible due to the large influence of religious and traditional leaders.
According to Mr. Hassan when the Emir of Hadeija received the vaccine shot he did it publicly at the Hadeija General Hospital where many of the community could see and be encouraged, after receiving the shot he held his green card as a sign and proof that he has been vaccinated.
In the Emir’s words, “I hope to dispel the rumors that a different vaccine, safer and more potent, is being administered to only very important personalities,” the Emir said. “Coming out like this will build trust and confidence in the minds of many that harbor this misconception and will lead to a higher turn-out for vaccine rollout. I am sure of it.”
Another Emir in Jigawa , Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Sani, Emir of Gumel also received his vaccine shot to increase the partnership between local leaders and health workers so as to increase the number when it comes to immunization and to record more success in the state vaccination exercise.
Furthermore in Jigawa, Hajiya Balkisu had to explain and convince people that the slight fever they feel after receiving the vaccine is only normal as she felt it too and the fever left within a day.
Hajiya Balkisu also added as she was addressing the people to be vaccinated including her colleagues, not to put so much fear at heart about the vaccine but to remain calm as it is much less painful to receive the shot than contracting the COVID-19 virus and falling sick.