Nigerian Inter-Faith Action Association (NIFAA), in collaboration with Pathfinder International held a One-Day Inter-Faith Dialogue to empower Nigerians, through faith leaders, with the knowledge on COVID-19 vaccine.
NIFAA programme manager, Dr. Fatima Mairami, in her welcome address at the intervention series tagged “Access Project Inter-Faith Town Hall Dialogue”, on Thursday, February 17, 2022, in Abuja, said some believe that COVID is gone, but it is very much around, has changed our lives, and still doing a lot of harm to its victims.
She further said: “The COVID-19 vaccines have been developed to help fight the virus, but unfortunately, the uptake is low in Nigeria, due to several misconceptions; and NIFAA is holding this meeting to get faith leaders more informed, to clarify their doubts, and dispel the rumours scaring people away.
“Part of the objective of this event is to achieve high acceptance of the recommended COVID-19 vaccinations, and have more people take it, by sensitizing faith leaders on the importance of COVID-19, even as they are expected to take the message back to their congregants,” she added.
The meeting positioned leaders of faith communities to have the role of ensuring they pass the right information about COVID-19 vaccine to their members, as this is also an act of love, since they will be protecting themselves and others around them.
“Faith leaders should take ownership of the process, empower and equip themselves with the necessary information, live by example, motivate people around them, be an advocate by utilizing every opportunity given to sensitize members on COVID-19 vaccine; be innovative and creative such as using focus group discussion, drama, brief presentation, on COVID-19.
Dr Fatima in her presentation on “Understanding Vaccines”, said vaccines are biological substance designed to boost the immune systems, protecting human bodies from diseases.
“Immune system is a 24-hour machine equipped to manage attacks.
“Bacterial and viral cells have markers called antigens capable of inducing an immune response in the body.
On how a vaccine works, Dr. Fatima said, first the body is exposed to a weakend or dead pathogen, the body’s immune system is equipped to fight it with the intake of vaccine.
She explained that vaccines helps to create the antibody that helps fight any foreign body that comes into the human body.
A participant, Mr Mohammed Aliyu said the event is very educative and has increased his knowledge about the vaccine, which he intends to take to other people.
The Access Project is being funded by Mac Arthur Foundation, implemented by Pathfinder Nigeria, with support from the Nigerian Inter-Faith Action Association, Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria, Vaccine Network and Sapphital,