By Joan Nwagwu
The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected Federal Government planned enforcement of COVID-19 vaccination on workers and Nigerians.
The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, expressed the labour’s position while unveiling the COVID-19 vaccination Advisory for the Federal Civil Servants on Monday in Abuja.
The federal government had said it would enforce COVID-19 vaccination amongst its workers effective from Dec. 1.
However, Wabba said though the efficacy of vaccines for the control of COVID-19 had been scientifically proven, the federal government should use the tool of persuasion rather than force to get workers and the general public to take it.
”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 the 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,” he said.
Wabba however noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had brought some of the biggest strains, stress and squeeze to the workplace, adding that thousands of workers had died from the disease.
He noted that more than 180,000 health workers had lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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 lost their jobs and means of livelihood to COVID-19,” he said.
The NLC president said the biggest lesson of the pandemic was that amidst the worst crisis, the human race could rise to the challenge with great resourcefulness and resilience.
According to him, apart from accelerated scientific efforts at understanding the epidemiology of the virus, science had raised the bar a little higher with the breakthrough discovery of a vaccine for COVID-19, which had helped reduce the death rate and hospital admissions.
He said that a study conducted by the United States Centre for Disease Control at the end of May 2021 showed that there was about 63 percent drop in hospital visitations after the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“There was also a 63 percent drop in hospital admissions post-vaccination and 66 percent 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.