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Nigeria adopts new strategy for covid-19 mass vaccination

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KOLA SULAIMON/AFP or licensors


Religious institutions in Nigeria have been recruited as part of the country’s new vaccination strategy.

This comes a day after the country recorded its first cases of the omicron variant.

Barakat Abiola is about to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. She did not need to go to a traditional vaccination centre to receive her dose. The Nigerian student will be immunised at her mosque.

It was the imam who called me and asked me to come and get vaccinated," explains the student.

Places of worship are therefore visited by health workers as part of the so-called outreach vaccination.

"Churches and mosques are strategic places that gather people on days of worship such as Fridays and Sundays. They are crowded. So we try to take advantage of that," said Atinuke Onayig, a senior health official in Lagos.

The introduction of the health pass in the public administration has triggered a rush for the precious liquid in the country.

"I looked for a place to get vaccinated and there was no vaccine available. So today they announced in the church that there is an opportunity for some of us who have not been vaccinated yet, we have to take this opportunity," explained Kate Lukpat, a Christian worshipper.

The coronavirus outbreak has killed 2,976 people and infected 214,113 in Nigeria, according to official statistics, but the actual numbers are believed to be much higher, partly because of low screening rates.

But vaccination rates remain low, with just over 6.5 million people having received a dose, while only 3.5 million Nigerians have been fully vaccinated out of the country's 210 million population.

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