Our lives won’t remain the same: Nigerians embrace COVID-19 vaccines
Once gripped by uncertainty and confusion, the increased availability of life-saving vaccines is helping more Nigerians break the cycle of fear that came with COVID-19.
- 27 January 2022
- 4 min read
- by Eric Dumo
Temitayo Somotun, a young woman residing in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, was living in fear. The arrival and spread of COVID-19 in the country in February 2020 left her feeling unsafe and worried about the future.
But everything changed in January 2022 when she and her mother finally decided to take the COVID-19 vaccine at the Ikosi-Isheri Primary Health Centre in Ketu, a densely populated suburb in the city. Her fears have since given way to renewed optimism and excitement.
“The decision to take the jab was easy. I wanted to feel safer and now the vaccine has given me that protection. I am already looking forward to taking my second jab.”
“This is my first jab and I am very happy to take the vaccine. Initially, I was scared because I thought if someone took the jab, there would be negative side effects,” she says.
“I am happy now for having the extra protection I need to go about my daily activities without being afraid of COVID-19. I am excited because I know that with the jab, my life will not remain the same.”
Somotun’s 67-year-old mother, Comfort, says that taking the jab has helped her overcome the anxiety and apprehension that came with COVID-19.
“I cannot describe the joy I feel having taken the vaccine. There were lots of restrictions to my movement before, as a result of the outbreak and spread of the virus. But now I will be able to go to places I didn't have the opportunity to go before. Seeing that the vaccine is safe and not the way some people described it to be, I will encourage others to take it as well,” she says.
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For Moses Oti, a young professional, who also recently took his first jab at the Ikosi-Isheri Primary Health Centre, Ketu, the decision to get protection against the virus was quite easy. Now feeling safer, Oti says the move was one of the best he has made.
“The decision to take the jab was easy. I wanted to feel safer and now the vaccine has given me that protection. I am already looking forward to taking my second jab,” he says.
Yekin Omolara took her first jab at the same Lagos health facility. She says that the process of getting the vaccine was smooth and, “with this jab, I feel more protected. I will encourage other family members and friends to take it too because I believe it is good for everyone.”
Already looking forward to taking her second shots of the vaccine, Uchenna Nwaneri admits that it was the people around her who convinced her to go for the jab.
“There were many people around me who had taken the vaccine and they encouraged me to do the same. The first jab makes me feel good and safe; I can’t wait to take the next shots as well. I am really happy I listened to them and went for the jab,” she says.
Vaccination Officer at Ikosi-Isheri Primary Health Centre, Bukola Olowookere, hailed the response of Nigerians to the ongoing vaccine campaign.
She revealed that being involved in the campaign has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of her career as a health worker in this Lagos community.
“When people come around for vaccination, we don’t delay them. We do all we can to ensure that they get the vaccine immediately. The turn-out has been very encouraging because people have been coming in large numbers for vaccination. I am excited about helping my compatriots stay safe and ahead of COVID-19. The positive feedback from members of the public has been very encouraging as well,” she adds.
Government at the state and federal level in Nigeria has ramped up ongoing vaccination for COVID-19 across the country in recent weeks. Over five million people have already been fully vaccinated while at least 10 million people have received their first dose, according to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.
Though there is still plenty of ground to cover, health workers like Olowookere express hope and confidence that more Nigerians will take the vaccine and further break the circle of fear surrounding the virus and life-saving medicine.