Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun, other government functionaries and frontline health workers, yesterday received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Ibadan, the state capital.

Makinde, who was the first to receive the jab, said he was convinced the vaccine was safe and without side effects for human beings.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, said the vaccines were administered by the Executive Secretary, Primary Healthcare Board, Dr. Muideen Olatunji, at the Executive Council Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.

The process was witnessed by representatives of the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, and the Nigeria Dental and Medical Association.

The governor while speaking after receiving the vaccine, enjoined residents of the state to have confidence in the process and pledged that the state would continue to monitor the process for necessary actions.

He noted that the sterility tests carried out on the COVID-19 vaccine by two laboratories in Ibadan confirmed its safety, appealing to residents of the state not to doubt the vaccines.

According to him, “I did not want to take the vaccine because naturally, I have a very low tolerance for physical pains; but when duty calls, we have to do what we have to do.

“I think we have to show leadership. We have to let the people know that they are protected. When I was reading the newspaper this morning, I saw where they said Oyo State has not given a single shot of the vaccine. So, they recorded zero for Oyo State. But now we have at least one.”

He further explained that the state embarked on sterility tests to enable it to confirm the safety of the vaccines for all.

“We did it because when I asked questions about the origin of the vaccine, they said the jabs that came to Nigeria were sent from India. Not that I don’t like India, or I don’t believe in their products, but the handling. They said this thing should be stored at a certain temperature, I wanted to validate that the vaccine we will give to the people of Oyo State has been correctly handled.

“We have our two labs here, the Virology Lab and the Bio-repository Lab, and they all came with the same results that the vaccine is good and proper for the consumption of the people of Oyo State; and it didn’t take me 24 hours after that to set and agree to come for this vaccination.

“So, on this note, I want to thank our international partners and also the health family in Oyo State. You have risen to the occasion, you have always been there, doing your work. The COVID-19 was better handled in Oyo State compared to most states in Nigeria.

“I also remember the first meeting even before this vaccination. We were discussing online registration. In Oyo State, we rightly pointed out that there are data that should be available on the online platform. And we said if the people at the national level have designed their own and we feel it wasn’t adequate, we decided to design our own local one and it didn’t take 24 hours before the national (Task Force) copied Oyo State and they upgraded their own.

“So, we will continue to set the pace here in Oyo State and I want to, on this note, let our people know that the process is open, simple. You don’t have to bribe anyone to get vaccinated and we will continue to monitor the process.

“127,000 is nothing when you compare it with the number of people we have to vaccinate in Oyo State. But we will continue getting whatever has been given and where we need to augment and go on our own to buy, we will do it when we get to that point.

“So, have confidence in the process, have confidence in your government, and have confidence in your health family in Oyo State.”

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Bashir Bello, in his remarks, said the vaccines were kept at the required temperature in a bid to ensure that they are safe for human consumption.

The Executive Secretary, Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Muideen Olatunji, appreciated Governor Makinde for his tenacity in seeking quality health care service for the citizens of the state.