With over 159,000 cases and over 1,900 deaths, Nigeria had the second-largest number of COVID-19 cases in Africa. Earlier this month, Nigeria received approximately 3.92 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines, from which Lagos State was allocated 507,742 doses of the vaccine on Tuesday.
The Lagos State Government has now approved 8 health facilities to prescribe COVID-19 vaccinations outside of the state’s 20 local government areas. Here is the list of vaccination centres in Lagos.
Global Citizen interviewed six Nigerians; Ademola Ogunbanjo, Toke Makinwa, Niyola, Denola Grey, Aderinola Odugbesan-Thomas and Hamzat Lawal, who are all survivors of the coronavirus pandemic. They spoke about their COVID-19 experiences, how it influenced their lives, and why they believe it is necessary for other Nigerians to wear masks in public and follow social distancing protocols.
On how they contracted the virus:
Ademola Ogunbanjo believes he contracted the coronavirus from his steward. Aderinola Odugbesan-Thomas said she’s not sure how, so she attempted to retrace her steps but couldn’t work it out.
Toke Makinwa said she contracted the virus during the #EndSARS protest. “I did have a face mask on but there were too many people and there were times I had to take off my face mask to maybe drink some water or help feed people that came out.”
Denola Grey said he was highly wary, but he still caught it. Niyola had no idea how she got infected with the infection. When she found out, she was following the proper procedure of checking before travelling.
On their most visible symptoms:
Ademola Ogunbanjo initially suspected malaria when he did not have flu-like symptoms. Two weeks later, he was screened for coronavirus, and the results were positive. He began to struggle to breathe normally.
Denola Grey suffered from COVID depression. He was unable to open his eyes or step down the stairs without running out of breath as a result of his illness.
The first thing that came to your mind when they found out they had COVID-19:
The first question that came to Ademola Ogunbanjo’s mind was, “Would I survive?”. Aderinola was worried about her immune system and how it could work out. Toke thought she was going to die. Denola said he suspected he was ill, but when the doctor told him he had COVID, a lot of questions started going through his head.
Lawal said that he was terrified and couldn’t comprehend the fact that he had CoVID-19, while Niyola wondered, how she contracted the virus.
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Based on their experience, this is their message to Nigerians about COVID-19?
Ademola Ogunbanjo: COVID-19 is not a conspiracy theory. It is real and it does not discriminate between young or old.
Some people will catch it and won’t even know, others will and they’ll write it off as a common cold, some will fall critically ill, and some will die.
The issue here is you don’t know how it’ll deal with you until you catch it. With the possibility of death, it’s not worth finding out. It might be easy on you but you might pass it across to someone who might get a worse deal so please obey all safety protocols and wear a face mask in public.
Aderinsola Odugbesan-Thomas: I really, really hope Nigerians take this virus as seriously as it is, I know it also took me contracting it and going through all that to actually be very vigilant.
But I don’t want anyone to have to go through what I went through. So please wear your mask, social distance, stay away from large gatherings, and stay home if you don’t have to be out.
Toke Makinwa: PLEASE protect yourselves. The virus is still very much around. Always wear your mask at any public gatherings. Cultivate the habit of washing your hands.
Denola Grey: People, we have a compromised health sector and we are also overpopulated in Nigeria — we can’t afford to let this thing get out of control. Please wear your masks, sanitise, and wash your hands. If not for yourself, do it for the people around you, especially our older population and people that have underlying conditions as well.
There is no telling how this virus works in different human beings — you might be lucky enough to be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, but you might also have symptoms that are really brutal. It’s just better to not get it than to battle it, so let’s keep safe.
Plus, if you’ve had it before immunity only lasts about three months so don’t think you are safe either. So yeah, stay safe, guys.
Hamzat Lawal: COVID-19 is real. Please wear your face masks and wash your hands with soap. Do not go out if it’s not important, and try as much as possible to observe physical distancing. And just know that this virus can actually kill and it is killing a lot of people.
Niyola: COVID-19 is real! Nigerians, take precaution by wearing a mask in public and maintaining good hygiene. Wash your hands regularly too.