This little vaccine went to market: boosting vaccine uptake in Nigeria
From the market square in Oba, Benin City, vaccinators reach busy businesspeople with COVID-19 vaccines.
- 15 December 2021
- 3 min read
- by Ijeoma Ukazu
In Edo State, southern Nigeria, the authorities have deployed local vaccinators to the market square to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to busy business people, who may not always have the time to make it to health facilities.
“I am happy that they brought the vaccination to my business place,” says local vendor Williams Christian. “I have longed to take the COVID-19 vaccine but I have not had the time due to the nature of my business. I sell recharge cards from different network companies here in the market. I have a target of sales to meet daily in the business."
“The vaccination is at the doorstep of people who are classified as high risk because they interact with different people while selling their goods. They are really embracing this opportunity brought to them by the State government. So far it has been impressive.”
Believe Osagie, another market vendor receiving his first dose, says, “I would not have taken my vaccine if it was not brought to the market where I hustle for daily bread. It is a bit difficult accessing the health centre where I live, but here I am today, happy that I have taken the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Believe says that “the jab in the arm” has helped open up businesses in the state compared to last year, when there was palpable fear around the market.
The market leader, Yemisi Omoregie says, “I got my vaccine here in the market. They brought it to my shop where I sell different goods. Since this market vaccination started, the vaccinators have moved from one shop to another talking and encouraging people to take the vaccine in order to keep them safe from COVID-19.”
Have you read?
She says that the vaccine serves as an agent of protection to business people involved in buying and selling to make ends meet, pointing to the fact that these traders are in constant communication with customers, so should protect themselves and family.
One of the roving vaccinators, Uwumagbe Linda, says, “My team and I spend time in the market square vaccinating the market women and men. We started off sensitising and providing them with information on the need to be vaccinated. As with most days, today I went out with one Moderna batch and two AstraZeneca vaccine batches. The Moderna contains 14 doses while the AstraZeneca has 10 doses.”
Linda adds, “The vaccination is at the doorstep of people who are classified as high risk because they interact with different people while selling their goods. They are really embracing this opportunity brought to them by the State government. So far it has been impressive.”
Dr Odekina Daniel, Director, Disease Control and Immunisation, Edo State Primary Health Care Development Agency, says, “Taking vaccination to the market square is part of the Edo model. Our people are very busy with their economic activities and we do not want to disrupt that. We decided to take the vaccines to them. It is easier to integrate it into their day when they only need to take two minutes out of their busy schedules to take their vaccine.”