BRITISH prime minister Boris Johnson Nigerian church and community leaders in the UK including Pastor Sola Fola-Alade in a bid to get them to persuade their members to take the Covid-19 vaccination which many of them are rejecting.
Leading every other European nation when out comes to the vaccine rollout, the UK has already vaccinated 20m people and is stepping up the programme aggressively. Mr Johnson said the 20m milestone represented a huge national achievement and he paid tribute to the country’s health, workers, volunteers and armed forces.
Britain has suffered the highest Covid-19 death toll in Europe with about 123,000 casualties and the country witnessed the heaviest economic shock among industrialised nations. However, the increased pace of the vaccination roll-out has raised the prospect of a gradual lifting of its current lockdown restrictions between now and the end of June.
Despite the success of the vaccination programme so far, many Nigerians in the UK are reluctant to take the vaccine, fearing it may have side effects. Some people also weary of the reputation of pharmaceutical companies that have been known to carry out trials on members of ethnic minority communities.
In a bid to allay such fears, Mr Johnson has been meeting with church leaders such as Pastor Fola-Alade, to get them to assure their followers that the vaccine is safe. Pastor Fola-Alade of the Liberty Church, London, said as a medical doctor, he understands people’s fears concerning the quick development of the vaccines.
He added: “Not only am I a pastor of a church, I’m also a medical doctor by training. I do understand people’s fears and anxieties concerning the speed of the development of the vaccines and the things that are out there concerning how the vaccines were developed.
“While people do have valid fears and questions regarding the efficacy and safety of the vaccine, however, we must be careful about misinformation out there and look at the facts. We should make our decisions based on objective facts and not on myths.”