By G9ija

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has urged the people of the state to take advantage of the ongoing vaccination of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in the state, to get vaccinated, as one of the potent measures of curbing the pandemic across the world.

Speaking when he flagged off the COVID-19 vaccination in Enugu State, Gov. Ugwuanyi, who had earlier received the first jab of the vaccine, on Monday, alongside his deputy, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo and the State Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Priscilla Ngozi Emehelu, assured the people of the state that “the vaccine is safe and free-of-charge”.

The governor urged the people to stay protected from the dreaded COVID-19 infection. He harped on the need for them to continue to adhere strictly to non-pharmaceutical measures of containing the pandemic such as wearing of nose mask, washing of hands regularly with soap and running water and maintaining social distancing, among others, in line with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) protocol and position of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

According to him, “government at national and sub-national levels have led the advocacy for non-pharmaceutical measures for the containment of this pandemic. Enugu State Government has relentlessly provided this leadership through robust sensitization and risk communication, enlightenment/advocacy on social distancing, personal hygiene practice and use of nose mask as prescribed by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Presidential Task Force on COVID-19”.

Highlighting that his administration, prior to the invention of the vaccine, had established several innovative healthcare facilities, infrastructure and programmes to strengthen the state’s response to the ravaging pandemic, Gov. Ugwuanyi maintained that the state government will continue to support the Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ESPHCDA) and the State Ministry of Health, to ensure that the state remains at the forefront of the fight against the disease.

“This is our commitment and it is our fervent hope that God’s abiding grace will, as always, afford us victory”, the governor said.

In their remarks, the state leadership of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), the Chairman, House Committee on Health in the State House of Assembly, Hon. Sam Ngene, and the Chairman, Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers, HRH Igwe Amb. Lawrence Agubuzu, expressed delight at Gov. Ugwuanyi’s good works, zeal and commitment towards the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

Commending Gov. Ugwuanyi for showing leadership by getting vaccinated, they urged residents of the state to emulate the governor and receive the vaccine, stressing that the vaccine is safe.

In his speech, the Executive Secretary, ESPHCDA, Dr. George Ugwu, said that his agency is fully prepared for the vaccination in the state.

Dr. Ugwu who described Gov. Ugwuanyi as “a foresighted leader”, noted that his administration had provided the facilities for preservation of the vaccine prior to its arrival to the state for vaccination.

On his part, the Enugu State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ikechukwu Obi, pointed out that the governor’s untiring efforts and doggedness in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic were responsible for the low mortality rate recorded in the state.

Another climax of the event was the vaccination of some key stakeholders in the state such as the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, the House Committee Chairman on Health, Hon. Ngene, Executive Secretary of ESPHCDA, Dr. Ugwu, the Chief Medical Director of ESUT Teaching Hospital, Parklane, Enugu, Prof. Hycinth Onah and his counterpart at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku/Ozalla, Enugu, Dr. Obinna Onodugo, among others.