In Edo State now, only those with the vaccination cards or proofs of having taken, at least, their first jabs of the Covid-19 vaccines, would be granted access to public places, including banks, worship places and other large gatherings, the state governor, Godwin Obaseki has declared.
Obaseki, who has slammed fresh restrictions on mass gatherings in the state, however, handed down the new rules on Monday, while flagging off the second phase of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination exercise.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony held at the Government House, Benin City, Obaseki said,”Beginning from the second week of September 2021, large gatherings, as well as high traffic public and private places will only be accessed by persons, who have proof of taking at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccination. People who have not yet been vaccinated at all will depend on remote access to these gatherings.
“From the second week of September people may not be allowed to worship in churches and mosques without showing proof of their vaccination cards at the gates. Similarly, people will not be allowed to event centers, receptions or parties, without showing proof of their vaccination cards.
“People will not be allowed to access banking services from the middle of September 2021, if they are not vaccinated. We have made adequate arrangements with security agencies to prevent anybody, who doesn’t have vaccination cards to access any of these places. We are doing this to protect our citizens and all these measures will remain until the pandemic passes away,” the governor noted.
Obaseki said his administration would continue to strictly enforce all non-pharmaceutical measures to contain the pandemic in the state, adding that activities to mark Edo’s 30th year anniversary have been scaled down significantly in compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
He explained that the new regulation was not to create a hardship on the people but to protect their lives and livelihood while the pandemic lasted, assuring the citizens that the “vaccine is available and free for all. We will not abandon you at this time of the pandemic.”
Noting that the pandemic was in its third wave in Nigeria, with its Delta variant having devastating effects around the world, the governor reassured the people of government’s commitment to ensuring the health and safety of Edo people.
His words: “In Edo State, the data is very clear, as we have collected 6,306 samples, with 203 confirmed cases and four deaths in the third wave. 96 per cent of all confirmed cases are those not vaccinated and 100 per cent of deaths are those not vaccinated; it shows the importance of vaccination.
“The pandemic has come to stay as it is clear that, intermittently, other waves will occur. As such, it is wise for us all to embrace vaccination as a way of surviving this pandemic.
“For us in the state, we have decided to push for vaccination, and within the next one year, we are focusing on vaccinating 60 per cent of our citizens to enable us build herd immunity against this pandemic.”
According to him, “Today’s launch of this phase of our vaccination campaign will be driven by various stakeholders and strategic groups to increase our access to the vaccines. We have communicated with stakeholder groups, because the pandemic doesn’t respect persons or status.
“We have 84 vaccination centers across the state; some are mobile while others are fixed as the list will be made available soon. We call on Edo citizens to support the launch and vaccination exercise kicking off today, as I encourage everyone to get vaccinated, as this is the only way we can save lives and livelihood, as well as return to our normal lives.
“In this launch today, we have two sets of vaccines being dispensed; the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines. We are taking the vaccine seriously but we will not shut down Edo State,” he noted.
Delivering a lecture titled, “COVID-19 Vaccination, a Fighting Chance,” the state epidemiologist, Dr. Greg Oko-Oboh, said, the world was experiencing the third wave of COVID 19 pandemic as the state was 8th out of the 36 State of the federation with the new infection.