The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Thursday began the vaccination of members of the FCT chapter of the NUJ against COVID-19.
Malam Abubakar Sani, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Strategic Communications to the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, inaugurated the exercise at the NUJ Secretariat in Abuja.
Sani represented the minister at the exercise.
He said the administration considered it necessary to vaccinate journalists because they are also frontline workers.
Sani noted that the vaccination of journalists would enhance public confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine and convince those cynical about the virus that it actually existed.
According to the ministerial aide, the vaccine is a normal routine vaccine to help boost immune system to protect people from contracting COVID-19 virus.
“We consider it necessary to initiate this process of vaccinating members of the fourth estate of the realm because journalists are indeed frontline workers.
“The FCTA considers the relationship between the NUJ and the administration as a very productive and strong relationship.
“It is in the realisation of the fact that journalists who report day-to-day activities in the society are exposed to the dangers of COVID-19.
“Some of them even go to the COVID-19 treatment and isolation centres to get testimonies from people infected with the virus,’’Sani said.
In his remarks, the Acting Secretary, FCTA Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr Kawu Mohammed, noted that every service provider required partnership with media.
Responding, the FCT NUJ Chairman, Mr Emmanuel Ogbeche, said vaccination of journalists would speak more than any advocacy carried out by the government.
“Journalists will attest if the vaccine has any side effect; they understand what the issues are and give feedback to the public,’’ he said.
He said more than 120 journalists in Abuja had registered to take the vaccine, adding that more journalists would be turning out for the exercise.
Ogbeche used the occasion to thank the minister for all his support to FCT NUJ, saying: “we hope that together we can fight COVID-19.’’
Also, the Chairperson, National Association of Women Journalists, Anne Daniel, expressed the readiness of the association to sensitise women on the importance of the vaccination.
Ogbeche, Daniel and many journalists were vaccinated on the spot.