SOUTH-EAST STATE GOVERNMENTS CONDEMN WITHDRAWAL OF SCHOOL CHILDREN OVER ALLEGED FORCEFUL IMMUNIZATION

There wschoolas panic in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State yesterday as parents and guardians rushed to schools to withdraw their children and wards over alleged deadly monkey pox vaccination in the schools.

The incident resulted in some schools hurriedly shutting their gates while many children in public schools ran to their homes for safety.

Investigations reveal that the panic was triggered by a rumor that a medical personnel who carried out a deadly monkey pox vaccination in some schools in one of the states in the south East were on their way to Ebonyi State.

Some of the parents including Mr. Martins Nworie and Mr. Christopher Egbe explained that they were alerted by their relations who were living in Anambra and Enugu States about the development.

Another version of the rumour claimed that some pupils had already been injected at Saint Patrick’s Primary School, Kpirikpiri, Abakaliki and lost consciousness thereafter.

However, the Headmistress of the school, Mrs. Chioma Okoye described the allegation as false.

Two pupils who were in the school explained that they were not worried about the development as it was a mere rumour.

Worried by the situation, the State Commissioner for Education, Professor John Eke took to radio to dispel the rumour while his Health counterpart, Dr. Daniel Umezurike explained that his investigation showed that no such vaccination took place anywhere in the state.

Dr Umezurike appealed to the people of the State not to panic about monkey pox outbreak in some States as Ebonyi State Government had put in place measures to prevent it from spreading to the State.

In Imo State, Parents and Guardians hurried to schools in the area to pick their children and wards to avoid getting the alleged vaccine.

When some private and public schools within Owerri and its environs were visited by our correspondent, the premises were deserted as students and pupils had called off academic activities in the schools leaving only the teachers.

Proprietors of some of the schools in the state however did not allow the students and pupils to leave the school premises before the official dismissal time for what they described as baseless rumour.

Meanwhile, Imo State Government has issued a statement urging residents of the area to disregard the rumour as no such exercise was ongoing on in the area.

In a similar vein, the Enugu State Government says withdrawal of Pupils and students from schools by parents in the State following an alleged forceful immunization is uncalled for.

The Commissioner for Information, Mr Ogbuagu Anikwe stated this while addressing newsmen on the alleged forceful immunization of pupils by unidentified persons.

He maintained that there was no immunization going on in any school in the state and advised parents and guardians to return their children and wards to school.

Also, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Fintan Ekochin said the government was not carrying out any immunization against monkey pox, noting that there was no vaccine for the disease.

Dr Ekochin advised residents against unnecessary panic as monkey pox was not a major  health challenge to the medical profession.

He explained that the Ministry of Health was on watch out against any communicable disease and called on the people to imbibe the culture of cleanliness.

Also, the Anambra State Government has described as false,  rumours making the rounds that the Nigerian Army Medical outreach to the area was administering deadly vaccines on school children.

The State Commissioner for Health, Doctor Joe Akabuike stated this while addressing newsmen shortly after visiting the site of the medical outreach at Saint Michael’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area.

Doctor Akabuike said the programme was a mission where the army distributed items such as drugs, insecticide treated nets, lenses and carried out medical counseling as well as physiotherapy.

He attributed issues that emanated from the outreach to communication gap, noting that no life was lost as alleged.

Doctor Akabuike reassured school authorities, parents, students and pupils that there was nothing to fear, urging the schools to proceed with their normal academic activities.

Meanwhile, Radio Nigeria Enugu had a telephone interactive with Army Spokesperson, Eighty-Two Division Nigerian Army, Enugu, Colonel Sagir Musa on the rumour making rounds that the Military was going to schools in the South East to vaccine the children against monkey pox which he described as falsehood.

 

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