COVID-19: Illiterate Yahaya Bello asks Nigerians to reject vaccine
The Governor of Kogi State Yahaya Bello has warned Nigerians against using COVID-19 vaccines that are soon to arrive in the country, despite having no background as a scientist and lacking any knowledge about vaccine engineering.
The Nigerian government has been labouring to secure millions of vaccines to be administered on citizens across the country, amidst a ravaving second wave that has overwhelmed the country’s health facilities.
During a political rally on Monday, Mr. Bello warned Nigerians who wished to use the COVID-19 vaccines to desist from doing so because of its purported debilitating consequences.
“They want to use the vaccine to introduce a disease that will kill you and Us, God forbid,” Mr. Bello said without evidence.
He also expressed doubts about the speed with which scientists came up with COVID-19 vaccine when other deadly diseases have been around for decades without a cure.
“Vaccines are being produced in less than one year of COVID-19. No vaccines for HIV, Malaria for cancer for headache and for several other diseases that are killing us,” the governor said.
Mr. Bello also invoked an incident from the 1990s in which American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer faced federal charges for allegedly deploying an untested polio vaccine in Kano.
“We should draw our mind back to what happened in Kano, Pfizer vaccine, a polio vaccine that crippled and killed our children, we have learnt our lessons,” He said.
While Mr. Bello may have a reason to tackle Pfizer for its controversial handling of the 1995 Kano case, he conspiracy theories against COVID-19 vaccine could put millions of Nigerian lives in danger. Widely published results of field trials conducted by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-Astrazeneca, and other world-leading medical bodies, showed that the vaccine was 95 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 after it was administered alongside placebo to about 42,000 individuals.
After receiving the vaccines and placebo, only 170 people, less than 5 percent of the study population, remained susceptible to COVID-19.
The World Health Organisation has also thrown its backing behind the approved vaccines after finding them safe to be administered on humans.
Mr. Bello appeared to have joined a growing list of Nigerians who continue to circulate anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, despite lacking scientific background. Last week, Lagos preacher Chris Oyakhilome repeated his false claims that both coronavirus and vaccines developed to combat it were being promoted by an imaginary caucus of powerful individuals to control the world.
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