Following efforts by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration to get more residents vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccines and achieve herd immunity against the deadly virus, Christians in Benin metropolis on Sunday turned out en mass to receive doses of AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines, as the government took the vaccination exercise to churches.
A member of the state COVID-19 Response team and Health Educator, Edo State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (ESPHDA), Irene Uabor, monitored the exercise across various churches in Benin City.
Some churches visited include Central Baptist Church King’s Square; St. Paul Catholic Church, Airport Road; Church of God Mission Int., Off Sapele Road; St. Peter Catholic Church Ugbor; The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Benoni, and Family Intercessory Ministries Int., Ekenwan Road, amongst others.
The effort of the government received the commendation of the All Progressive Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate in the September 19 2020 election and a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who hailed the government for making the vaccines available to Edo people.
Ize-Iyamu said he has taken two doses of Astrazeneca vaccines alongside his wife and children and encouraged all Edo people to take advantage of the availability of the vaccines to get themselves inoculated.
He said: “All over the world, people have been working to see how they can put a stop to the pandemic and the vaccines came as a way to stay safe. When the vaccines came to Nigeria, I signified interest in taking the vaccine, I took it along with my wife, and nothing has happened to me or my wife. I have continued to encourage my friends to come out and get vaccinated.”
Ize-Iyamu continued: “I urge Edo citizens to seize the opportunity created by the Edo State Government and get vaccinated. This is the time to take it when there is no rush because a time is coming when we will beg and fight for it.
“I am grateful to the government for making it available and encouraging us to take it. I encourage you all to go and take it; the vaccine is good and safe.”
Also speaking, Parish Priest of St. Peter Catholic Church Ugbor, Rev. Fr., noted: “We are happy that we have vaccines now to defeat this pandemic; the rumour about the vaccines is not true. We took vaccines while growing up, there is no issue with vaccination against the COVID-19 pandemic. I am fully vaccinated; I have taken my two doses and we have over 60 percent of parishioners here already vaccinated. We have been preaching about it and encouraging our people to be vaccinated.
“We appreciate what the governor is doing and the level of acceptance by the people. Preachers should stop discouraging people from being vaccinated; if they don’t want to be vaccinated they should allow their people who want to be vaccinated to do so.
On her part, Uabor applauded the Christian faithful for accepting the vaccine.
“The acceptance rate by Christians across churches visited today is tremendous and encouraging. People are coming out to take the vaccines. We have enough doses in the State for the people.”
Parishioners take the COVID-19 vaccine at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, in Benin City, on Sunday, August 29th, 2021.