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Christian Leaders in Nigeria’s Bauchi State Encourage COVID-19 Vaccine amid Low Uptake

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Christian leaders in Nigeria’s Bauchi State are encouraging the people of God within their pastoral region to take part in the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination exercise amid reported low uptake of the jab. 

“Avail yourselves to take the vaccination. It is very potent to guard you from the infection,” the  chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Nigeria’s Bauchi State, Rev. Abraham Damina Dimeus, has been quoted as saying Sunday, September 5

Rev. Dimeus who was, according to the report, speaking on behalf of CAN members in Bauchi State adds, “We cannot pretend not to be aware of the presence of COVID-19 pandemic in our midst.”

The Christian community in Bauchi State is being viewed as laxed in taking the vaccine, a narrative that should be changed, he observes.

He says, “In all the meetings we have attended on the COVID-19 vaccination, fingers are being pointed at us as people who are not supporting the government to fight the pandemic. We have to change this narrative by taking the vaccination.”

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On September 1, the Executive Chairman of the Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (BASPHCDA), Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, reportedly expressed concerns about the low uptake of COVID-19 vaccines in the State. 

Dr. Mohammed reportedly said that 2,000 vaccine doses had been sent to one of the Local Government Areas (LGA) in the Nigerian State but that only 30 jabs had been administered as people refused to accept it.

The BASPHCDA official also noted that some of the well-to-do members of the community are trying to bribe health officials to offer them with vaccination cards instead of getting vaccinated. 

Dr. Mohammed called on religious leaders to educate their respective faithful on the need to be vaccinated against the disease, which has infected at least 195,511 people in the West African country. 

Nigeria has also recorded 2,552 COVID-19 deaths and 184,529 recoveries. 

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In the September 5 report, Rev. Dimeus who was addressing members of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) emphasizes the need for Christians in Bauchi State to get inoculated.

“The vaccination for now is being given freely by the government. I bet you that a time is coming very soon when you will look for it even with your money but will not get it because by that time, it would have become an essential commodity, which people will be scrabbling for. I appeal to you to please avail yourself to take it,” CAN chairman in Bauchi State says. 

He goes on to caution Christians against retreating from projects that have been instituted by the country’s leadership saying, “We have been directed to be subjective to all government because it is installed by God.”

In March, Bishop Callistus Valentine Onaga of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu called on Christians in Nigeria to forget all misinformation about COVID-19 jabs and get vaccinated. 

“Forget all the propaganda going around; we have taken other vaccines for yellow fever and the rest,” Bishop Onaga said.

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He added that Nigerians should go for the vaccine “so we can stem the spread of this thing (COVID-19).”

“We are appealing to everyone, every Catholic and every Christian to go and take this vaccine,” the Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Enugu Diocese said in the March 30 report, adding that the jab will “help us worship better and will help us return to normalcy.”