The Nigerian Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) says it will not force anyone in the country to take the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
Sultan Sokoto and the President-in-Office of the Council, His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar, made the remarks at a meeting Friday in Abuja, the state capital.
He spoke at a meeting with the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Chief Mustapha; Minister of Health, dr. Osagie Ehanire; and Executive Director of the National Agency for Primary Health Care Development (NPHCDA), Ph.D. Faisal Shuaib.
According to the sultan, the NSCIA supported the vaccine, but will not decide for anyone whether or not to take the blow.
As controversy over the effectiveness of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine continues, Nigerian authorities have decided to meet with Muslim scholars and imams led by the Sultan to seek their support.
In his remark, Mustapha, who is also chairman of the Presidential Working Group (PTF) for COVID-19, announced that the working group is working to begin vaccinating religious and traditional leaders.
He explained that this was aimed at increasing public confidence and praised Muslim scholars and imams for their support to the government in managing the virus.
Ehanire, for his part, reiterated that the AstraZeneca vaccine was safe and that those who had already been vaccinated, including himself, had not yet reported any side effects.
According to him, the involvement of religious leaders is accelerating the delivery of vaccines, given the impact of the disease on the Nigerian population.
For the head of the NPHCDA, the government decided to convene a meeting to clarify the ongoing controversy and begin mass vaccinations.
He noted that the European Union Medicines Council had reversed its initial decision to stop using the vaccine and said it was safe to use.