Nigeria is making the vaccination against COVID-19 a compulsory employment clause for new and old employees of the government. The chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha made the announcement.
However, the government’s position has drawn criticisms with many citizens believing this new policy is not in the best interest of Nigerians. Federal workers are the main group of workers affected by this new Federal policy.
Nigerian Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, explained the government position thus;
“There’s a deadline already set and we are hoping that it will encourage those civil servants who love their jobs and are yet to take the COVID-19 vaccine to take the jab for their own good. The reason is that there’s evidence that supports the fact that if you are fully vaccinated, the effect of COVID-19 won’t be much on you. But that is not the same with unvaccinated people. There are higher chances of survival if a fully vaccinated person comes down with COVID-19.
“However, those who have not taken the vaccine are a threat to the safety of other people who have been fully vaccinated and possibly share same public places with them by virtue of being colleagues. There’s a higher risk of them infecting other people, and that’s what we want to avoid. In addition to that, we want to secure the health of others who share the same public spaces.
Evidently, most countries now insist on presenting evidence of full vaccination before someone is being allowed into public places.”
In principle, the effective date of December 1, 2021, for unvaccinated Federal Government workers will mean that they won’t be allowed access into any public office, as part of measures to contain the spread of the pandemic. It allows for more members of the population to acquire immunity and ultimately ensures that the Herd Effect of Immunity is achieved.
The Omicron Variant of the COVID-19 virus has triggered another round of panic in the world. There is so much that remains in the dark about this new strain. However, what is known is that the variant, which descends from the B.1.1 lineage, is “unprecedented” and “very unusual” in the number of its mutations as it has 32 in its spike protein. The new Omicron strain has been reported in the UK, home to many Nigerians resident abroad. Also, Quebec in Canada has reported that the strain is now on their region.
It is therefore not out of place for the Federal Government to insist on this deadline. Federal Workers are usually the first point of contact for international visitors coming into the country. They have to be immune to the virus to avoid being an agent of the spread of the virus. Ultimately, the general unimmunized population is protected from the unwanton spread.