Somali journalists demand to be vaccinated first alongside other frontline workers

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MOGADISHU (HOL) – Journalists in Somalia have called for their inclusion in the first phase of COVID-19 vaccinations since they serve as frontline workers.

The National Union of Journalists (NUSOJ) said Tuesday journalists, like other frontline workers, must be vaccinated first to allow them to carry out their duties without the risk of spreading the disease.

“We understand that the vaccine doses are limited and will initially be available to frontline workers, the elderly and other vulnerable groups. We take this early opportunity to remind the Federal Government that throughout the pandemic, journalists have been frontline workers who deserve to be on the priority list of people eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination first,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary-General.

Noting that journalists, like other frontline workers, are predisposed to COVID-19, Osman said ‘Failure to protect them could lead to the collapse of an essential service, at a time when the public needs a lot of reassurance about the safety of the vaccine through information campaigns.’

The Federal Government put journalists in the same category of frontline workers last April after it instituted a raft of measures including lockdowns and curfews.

NUSOJ demands that the Federal Government states in no uncertain terms its commitment to ensure that journalists will be among the first to receive the available vaccines and communicate a clear programme for vaccination, the journalists’ union said.

Somalia is expected to receive the COVID-19 vaccine soon under the WHO Covax programme.