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UNICEF, WHO kick against discrimination of COVID-19 survivors

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Nigerians and the world at large have been urged to stop discrimination against survivors and those afflicted with coronavirus, even as the demand for vaccine passports that is being agitated by some European countries has been described as unnecessary.

This is coming as the World Health Organisation, WHO, has kicked against the demand for vaccine passports or certificates as being agitated by some European countries before entry by travellers from abroad.

In the views of UNICEF Communication for Development Specialist, Elizabeth Onitolo who canvassed against the spreading fake information and rumours about the COVID-19 vaccine, the time has come for Nigerians to embrace COVID-19 vaccination.

Speaking at a media dialogue in Yola, Adamawa state, she said:  ”We want all Nigerians to see the coronavirus as one of the diseases ravaging the world, and stop discriminating against people with the virus. There is a need for Nigerians to take necessary precautions so as not to contact the coronavirus.”

Onitolo said UNICEF Nigeria, conducted a risk assessment rumour in some states and found out that some information was preventing people from accessing COVID-19 vaccines.

“It is essential for media practitioners to always create awareness that will dispel all the rumours that are spread by people all over the country. Nigerians need to be proactive and ensure that everyone has the right information to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus”.

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Also speaking, the WHO Adamawa state Coordinator, Friday Igbinovia, called on all Nigerians to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, by adhering to guidelines stipulated by regulatory health agencies.

“It is essential for all the citizens to obtain the first and second dose of the virus. It is also important to practice social distancing and wear a face mask at all times. The government is doing its best to ensure the vaccine is available to everyone,” he urged.

Igbinovia noted that the availability of the vaccines is likely to reduce the severity of the disease and other complications which may lead to death.

Also speaking, the incident Manager, Stephen John, advised Nigerians to quit discriminating against people down with the virus as the issue of stigma has made a large number of people uncomfortable.

John said it has also had a negative effect on the health sector and that the right perception and belief about the vaccine was needed.

“The coronavirus usually comes with a different variant, and all hands should be on deck to put an end to the emergence of new variants of the virus.  A high proportion of cases are asymptomatic.  The low index of suspicion makes detection difficult and leads to delay in presentation and increased transmission”.

Source: Vanguard News

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