By Ijeoma UKAZU
As believed by most religious minded Nigerians that drinking the “Holy Water ” serves as a vaccine against Covid-19, a medical expert has warned.
Some Christians, whose pastors have linked the vaccine to the Antichrist in the past, vowed not to take the Covid-19 vaccine but resort to drinking the holy water as a remedy against the virus.
One of such is Mrs Joy Olubunmi, 70, resident of Ifako Ijaiye local government area of Lagos told The Abuja Inquirer that, “My pastor said anyone that takes or drinks the holy water will not contact the coronavirus.”
Olubunmi remained adamant despite the daily sermon by her children on the risk of not taking the Covid-19 vaccine, she pointed out that her supplements are enough to keep her safe from the virus.
She said, ” I take my supplements (immune boosters) judiciously and every time I go out, I do the popular hot water steaming. The reason why I do this is because of my age. I know that I am susceptible to the virus.
“There is no cause for alarm. I have been vaccinated. I get my vaccine every Wednesday from my weekly program in church. My pastor assured every member that once they drink the holy water none of them will contact the Covid-19 virus.”
Reacting, a medical doctor, Community Medicine Department, Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, ESUT, Dr. Obasi Chikezie, advised Nigerians who align with the same thought as Madam Olubunmi to; “Please, go and take your Covid-19 vaccine. Your pastors have taken it. Many are still taking it. If you refuse, covid may kill you. Your holy water does not do anything.”
Dr. Chikezie, who spoke to The Abuja Inquirer during a two-day media dialogue on Covid-19 vaccine campaign in Enugu State organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, in collaboration with The Child Rights Information Bureau, CRIB of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, said, even the Bible says “my people perish for lack of knowledge”, it didn’t say, “my people perish for lack of faith.”
He said, God has bestowed on human beings the capacity to think and solve their problems, adding that, the solution is there free of charge and accessible, yet some religious blinded people still go to God to beg for something that is within reach.
The community medicine expert states that, ” Those of us who are Christians, Jesus Christ did some miracles that were recorded on earth. Only two that can be solved by man today. One is the Psychiatry problem and the woman with the issue of blood.
“Miracles don’t come when there is a solution to your problem. You don’t pray for your hunger to stop when you are hungry, you go looking for food and when you get food, you are satisfied. You don’t ask God to cover you or go to the bush to cover yourself with bush, you go get clothing.
“Adam and Eve did not have clothes. God had a way of providing good leaves that covered them. You and I have clothes we don’t go back to beg God.”
He further illustrated; “God said, he created man in his own image and likeness and has made man dominion over the earth, what does that mean? It means, we are mini Gods on earth and we are meant to recreate things and solve our problems. I tell people, God is already resting for the problems we could actually solve. You can only take a problem to God when you cannot solve it. Not when there is a solution to your problem.
“There is a vaccine, there is a solution to your problem, why go to God? That is stupidity, ignorance and that is not understanding God”, Chikezie said.
He further highlighted some other myths around the Covid-19 vaccine to include: death after two years, convulsion, igniting electric bulb, changes in DNA, chips in vaccines, infertility, depopulation, adding that they are all misleading depriving people from being vaccinated.
He called on Nigerians to go get vaccinated against the virus so as to protect themselves and loved ones from the disease.
The health specialist and officer-in-charge of UNICEF Enugu Field Office, Dr. Olufemi Adeyemi, said, there is concerted effort by the Nigerian government, UNICEF and development agencies to ensure that the spread of Covid-19 is brought under control through importation of vaccines and accessibility to vaccines.
He lamented that the country still faces serious challenges in the areas of public hesitancy, unwillingness and conspiracies against the Covid-19 vaccines, making efforts of government partners and donors unreciprocated.
He added that UNICEF and partners will continue to respond to the four Covid-19 response pillars adopted by the Nigerian government in line with NCDC guidelines by emphasizing the imperative role of the mass media in today’s fight against Covid-19.
On the role of the Nigerian media, Adeyemi said has been active on Covid-19 message dissemination, “We recognise the active role the media as they have continued to play right from the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic by ensuring correct and timely messages are disseminated to the public while at the same time enabling rapid and widespread reach of public health information.
“We have continued to see an upward trend for the promotion of health and hygiene practices by the media in Nigeria, by daily communication to the public of protocols enforced by the government to prevent spread of Covid-19, reinforcement of useful messages on safe health practices such as increased hand washing, use of face coverings, and social distancing.”
Adeyemi further stated that, ” With huge reliance on that fact through levels of concerted collaborations with media and related communication outlets for reinforcement of messages on equal access to healthcare, ending discrimination and social stigmatization by providing daily updates to public on ways to combat the pandemic and remain safe.”
Earlier in his remarks, the communication specialist, UNICEF, Dr. Geoffrey Njoku, said the media dialogue objectives are geared towards advocacy to government, federal and state to provide logistics and operation support for the delivery of the vaccines.
Njoku said the objectives further includes: “Demand creation for the uptake of the vaccines, allay fears by anarchists and conspiracy theorists about the safety of the vaccines, highlight the impact of the Covid-19 on education and how vaccine uptake can mitigate further closures.”Photo: Cross section of journalists during a Covid-19 vaccination exercise in Abuja. Photo: Emmanuel Ogbeche