The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has asked the federal and state governments to use persuasion rather than force, to get workers and members of the public to take COVID-19 vaccines.

It, however, urged Nigerian workers and eligible members of the public to go out and take the vaccines, describing it as an effective remedy to avoid the associated sickness and hospitalisation.

Speaking at a media briefing to unveil the COVID-19 vaccination advisory for the federal civil servants in Abuja yesterday, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said though the efficacy of vaccines for the control of COVID-19 has been scientifically proven, “the tool of persuasion and conviction be used rather than force to get workers and the general populace to take the vaccine.”

He also urged the government and other employers of labour to make special arrangement for workers to access the vaccine at their respective workplaces.

Against the background of the move by the federal government to enforce vaccination amongst its workers by setting December deadline, the NLC boss explained: “The truth is that despite being imperfect, the COVID-19 vaccine has given all of us a better chance of fighting the virus and staying alive. I urge workers all over the world to take advantage of the COVID-19 vaccines and keep themselves, their families and their colleagues at work safe and free from the morbid threats of the corona pandemic.

“We urge government and other employers of labour to make special arrangement for workers to access the vaccine at the workplace. We urge that the tool of persuasion and conviction be used rather than force to get workers and the general populace to take the vaccine.”

Wabba said the pandemic has brought some of the biggest strains, stress and squeeze to the workplace, adding that thousands of workers have died from the disease.

Wabba said: “Many of the dead from the global workforce were frontline workers. As at the third week of October 2021, more than 180,000 health workers world over had lost their lives to COVID-19.

“The high rate of fatality is unfortunate but also highlights the sacrifice that workers have made in combating and containing this deadly virus. Many more workers have their jobs and means of livelihood to COVID-19.”

He also said the biggest lesson from the pandemic was that amidst the worst crisis, the human race could rise to the challenge with great resourcefulness and resilience. According to Wabba, apart from accelerated scientific efforts at understanding the epidemiology of the virus, science has raised the bar a little higher with the breakthrough discovery of vaccine for COVID-19 which has helped reduce death rate and hospital admissions.

He disclosed that a study conducted by the United States Centre for Disease Control as of the end of May 2021, showed that there was about 63 per cent drop in hospital visitations after the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“There was also a 63 per cent drop in hospital admissions post vaccination and 66 per cent drop in mortality for those aged 18 – 49 after the vaccination.

“I understand some people prefer to view COVID-19 vaccination with caution. Yes, it is important to proceed on issues of public health with great caution. Yet, it would be foolhardy to elevate caution above scientific evidence and facts from public health records,” he said.

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