There was pandemonium in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital following the panic withdrawal of school pupils by their parents and guardians from schools in the state over alleged killer monkey pox vaccination exercise.
Two students were reported to have been run over and injured by a moving vehicle while rushing to get home as the fear spread across the state on Friday.
An eyewitness, Madam Ebitare, said the incident occurred at about 12pm and the injured kids have been rushed to the hospital.
The panic led to closure of both private and public schools to avoid stampede and disappearance of children from the school premises.
According to Nicholas Jones, a parent who confirmed the panic withdrawal to journalists in Okaka area of Yenagoa, many of the parents acted on the report that the military men involved in the purported vaccination were in the Bayelsa state capital.
According to Jones: “I received a call from my mom that people are rushing to schools to withdraw their children from school that some soldiers were killing children with injection. They claimed the soldiers were moving from school to school.”
He said he rushed to the children school and withdrew the kids saying “I did that to prevent any issue as prevention is better than cure.”
Another woman claimed to have been told that two pupils were allegedly injected with the deadly vaccine at the Wise One Comprehensive School at Akenfa area of the state capital
Emeraldng.com observed that some private and public schools in Opolo,Okaka and Agudama areas of the state were shut and students sent home in haste.
However, in most of the state government owned schools, such as the St. Jude Girls School and Kpansia Unity School visited, students were in the class taking their studies.
Reacting to the development, the Bayelsa state government suspended all forms of medical outreach programme in public and private schools across the state following the scare of a purported injection given to students against the viral ‘MonkeyPox’ disease.
The commissioner for information and orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, announced the suspension at a joint press briefing with his health counterpart, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu.
Iworiso-Markson said the government will monitor the situation and ensure strict compliance while urging the management of schools to verify the identity of those who come around their premises for one thing or the other.
He described as deliberate misinformation the development which has led to the panic and withdrawal of students by parents from schools and stressed that there is no such thing happening.
Speaking also, the commissioner for health, Prof. Etebu debunked the rumor, saying it is unhealthy and called on parents to return their children back to schools as the government is on top of the situation.
“I want to say that there is no vaccination against ‘MonkeyPox’. So proprietors of schools should not allow any stranger to come and administer such on their pupils. Anyone dressed in Army uniform, clinical or lab cloth injecting children should be reported.
“The rumor is unhealthy and we condemn it. As a government we are on top of the case and we will get to the root of where this falsehood emanated from,” he said.