Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, Deputy Governor of Rivers State, taking the Covid-19 vaccine at Government House, Port Harcourt on Tuesday, March 16, 2021.

The Rivers State Government has commenced the first phase of Covid-19 vaccination that will help to promote immunity and reduce infection in the State.

Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, who performed the flag-off on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, at Government House, Port Harcourt, described the exercise as historic in the fight against Covid-19.

Kelvin Ebiri, Special Assistant (Media) to the Rivers State Governor, reports that Governor Wike, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, said since the outbreak of Covid-19 in December 2019, many people had found it difficult to cope with the disruption of their livelihood, and their health.

“We are therefore thankful to God to have another layer of medical intervention in the form of vaccine to help reduce infection, promote immunity, and restore social confidence.

Governor Wike said the State government efforts at Covid-19 containment was strategic after the state recorded its first case on 25th March 2020.

Accordingly, in both waves of the pandemic, Governor Wike said, the State Government synergised with the private sector, and the National Centre for Disease Control to achieve an acceptable level of public health.

“The vaccine used in this campaign have received authorisation by World Health Organisation (WHO) and are therefore effective and safe for administration.

“They will help reduce disease transmission, disease severity, and death from Covid-19. I encourage you to follow the guidelines for the vaccine roll-out and avail yourselves the opportunity to be protected from this deadly virus and to protect others.

“This first phase of the vaccination, is mainly for frontline healthcare workers and strategic leaders. In the following weeks, more citizens will have the opportunity to get vaccinated.”

On his part, Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Princewill Chike said Governor Wike response to fighting Covid-19 in the state has been dogged and laced with strategic leadership.

“It is easy for people to forget when certain things happen. But if you remember from March 2020, the governor himself visited churches, places of worships and other places of public gathering to make sure protocol of Covid-19 were kept.

“Executive Orders were also approved by the Rivers State Executive Council and signed by him. A lot of resources have been put into the combating of covid-19 in Rivers State.

“With a particular test of covid-19 costing N50 thousand, for now, Rivers State has collected over 135 thousand samples, and the cost is borne by the Rivers State Government.”

Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Harry-Banigo , the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, State Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, Commissioner for Health, Prof. Princewill Chike, Chief of Staff to the governor, Chief Emeka Woke and Dr. Peter Medee who is the Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources and several other government functionaries were vaccinated.

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