By Seyi Taiwo-Oguntuase
As observed by the Lagos State Civil Society Coalition Against COVID-19 under the coordination of the Centre for 21st Century, the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination in Lagos State witnessed quite a number of persons at the vaccination site.
A visit to some of the accredited Primary Health Centres in Ikeja Local Government Area of the state, showed that residents of the areas who are frontline workers and elderly were eager to take the vaccine.
It was observed that at Ojodu Primary Health Centre in the Ojodu area of the state, the atmosphere was peaceful but with a heavy presence of people at the gate who wanted to gain entrance to the facility.
Right from the gate, all COVID-19 protocols were practiced as one could not gain entrance to the facility without wearing a facemask and was asked to wash his or her hands with soap under running water.
The officer who manned the gate appealed to those outside to exercise patience as there was little or no space to accommodate everyone at the same time, urging that they should wait for space to be created in the facility.
It was also observed that because of space constraints, there was not much physical distancing at the centre but everyone adorned his or her facemasks.
Some of those who were vaccinated while reeling their experience, said they came in as early as 7 to 8am to pick numbers and immediately the health workers arrived, they commenced the exercise.
However, one striking area is that the majority of those that were vaccinated were in a hurry to leave the premises and did not observe the 15 minutes they were supposed to wait after receiving the vaccine.
While sharing her experience, Ibikunle Opeyemi, a nurse, said that she got to the centre by 8am and took a number.
Opeyemi said that no form of counsel was given to her as she said she was only advised to take paracetamol after receiving the vaccine.
She said the health workers treated her politely and were not harsh on her, adding that she was not told to wait for 15 minutes after taking the vaccine.
Ifeoluwa Adeolu and Gbenga Aborishade in their separate reactions after taking the vaccine, said they were also not counseled at all and were not told to wait for some minutes after vaccination.
They explained that the wife of their colleague, who is a medical doctor, had spoken to them earlier on the vaccine and had counseled them before coming to the centre.
They, however, said that the only challenge was gaining access to the facility, which was quite hectic, as there were a lot of people at the gate willing to get vaccinated.
Beneficiaries at the centre commended the efforts of the health workers for their courteous approach.
One of the elderlies, Adenubi Adejuwape, 76, after receiving the vaccine said the health workers respected the elderly and treated them well.
Adejuwape said that he was not given any form of counsel before getting the vaccine, adding that only his details were taken and asked if he had eaten or if he had any ailment.
“I was asked if I had eaten and I told them yes. They also asked me if I had any ailment and I told them I usually have high blood pressure and that I have medication for it.” He added.
However, some others complained that while trying to register online, they experienced issues.
Also, at the Oregun Primary Health Centre, a lot of people who got the vaccine were in a hurry to leave the premises.
Seventy-nine-year-old Christopher Folajoye said he was first skeptical about taking the vaccine but that his wife, who is a retired matron, made up her mind that she was going to take and also convinced him to take.
“I have heard a lot of things about the vaccine, which made me afraid but my wife said there is no problem getting the vaccine, that is why we are here to take it,” Folajoye said.
He said that the workers were friendly and nice to him while administering it, adding that they only asked him if he had any underlying ailment and that he told them he has high blood pressure maybe because of his age.
He said he was only told that if he has any complaints after taking the vaccine, he should call a number.
Folajoye also called on other elderly in the state to come out en masse to get vaccinated.
Also, Esther Awosika, a 72-year-old woman, said she was overwhelmed with the kind of care shown to her by the health worker. She said she was not counseled on what to expect as an after effect of the vaccine but that they treated her gently and nicely.
76-year-old Marie Awosika is another elderly person who spoke about her experience. Awosika said she had no fear about the vaccine because she was a retired matron. She said heard a lot of things about the vaccine negatively but that she thought that she is old and if she gets the vaccine, she will one day die and if she does not get it she will still die because she is old.
“I decided to come because I know the earlier the better, I was welcomed when I came in, they treated the elderly very well and I also see that they treated everybody both young and old well unlike when nurses and health workers will be harsh on their patients.
“I was expecting them to ask me questions and tell me some things but they did not.”
At the centre, some men walked in and after their identities were demanded, they found out that they were not front-line workers and were politely turned back.
At both centres, there were the presence of policemen and men of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC).
However, those who got vaccinated said they were satisfied with the service of the health workers.