Hundreds of federal civil servants especially in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, are rushing to hospitals and designated centres to take the COVID-19 vaccines ahead of December 1 deadline to bar them from offices.
According to Daily Trust, this is the wake of the ravaging effect of another COVID-19 variant named Omicron, which puts the world on red alert as many countries contemplate closing their borders and restricting movements.
The federal government had months ago announced that workers who were yet to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will be denied access into government offices from tomorrow, December 1, 2021.
Daily Trust observed in Abuja that hundreds of civil servants were in a last-minute rush to get the jab as many centres recorded a high influx of civil servants.
An anonymous source at the Federal Secretariat vaccination centre said many people were rushing to be vaccinated.
“So far, we have been able to vaccinate dozens of civil servants and their family members with the Astrazeneca and Modena today. Also, we have been able to administer the second round of the COVID-19 vaccine to many people today. The second jab is administered eight weeks after the first jab,” the health worker said.
“It will be difficult to tell you the exact number of civil servants…It will not be easy because of ongoing replacements, new recruitments, deaths and all that. So, I don’t think if you will get the exact number of civil servants that have been vaccinated against COVID-19,” he said.
Also, the Director Communication, Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHoCSF), Malam Abdulganiyu Aminu, said they could not be specific on the actual number of civil servants vaccinated, especially for the fact that the exercise was ongoing.
In an interview, he said, “But reports reaching us from the various vaccination centres are encouraging. Many civil servants are responding to the call to get vaccinated.”
The Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaibu, had said that as of November 26, a total of 6,242,224 Nigerians had received the first dose of COVID-19.
He also said 3,487,298 Nigerians had received their second dose and therefore fully vaccinated.
This meant only 1.7 per cent of the total population target of 111,776,503 has been vaccinated.
The federal government had last Friday ordered federal workers from Grade Level 12 and below to resume normal duty effective from Wednesday, December 1.
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, gave the order in a circular with ref. no: HCSF/3065/Vol.1/107 dated November 26, 2021.
She recalled that as part of the measures to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 Pandemic, officers on GL 12 and below were directed to work from home.
She, however, said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the Vaccine Mandate Policy, which would require all federal government employees to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Also, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, had announced that all federal workers would be barred from office from December 1, unless they showed proofs of their vaccination against the coronavirus.
On Monday, some of the federal workers expressed mixed feelings about the development.
While some of them said it was good that the government made the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory in the interest of the nation, few others said it violated their fundamental rights.
“I am happy that the government has made it mandatory for workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” a worker with the ministry of power, said.
“It is sad that we don’t trust our government because from the look of things, millions of Nigerians are not willing to take the jab and this is dangerous.
“Look at how the variant is mutating. Look at the Omicron that is ravaging the world. Government must deploy all the resources it has to ensure that all Nigerians are vaccinated not only civil servants. The civil servants are a fraction of the over 200m people in the country. It is saddening that up till now less than 2 per cent have been vaccinated. We are sitting on a time bomb,” he said.