Cobhams; West African musicians spread the word that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective
As Nigerians and as Africans, we have gone through too much to let this virus hold us back and endanger our futures that we are fighting so hard to make better
Abuja, 7 April 2021 –Musical artist and UNICEF Nigeria Ambassador Cobhams Asuquo today called on Nigerians to have confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine and ensure children receive their routine immunizations to prevent deadly diseases.
The call came on as the world celebrated World Health Day. Cobhams was joined in the call by other world-renowned African artists Angelique Kidjo, Calema, Magic System and Safiath.
The musical artists united with UNICEF to promote confidence in COVID-19 vaccines one month after the start of the historic roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in several West and Central African countries. The important call came in response to record levels of vaccine misinformation sweeping the region, risking efforts to control the global pandemic.
“We have a critical window of opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of COVID-19 immunization efforts, to combat misinformation and address vaccine hesitancy,” said UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Marie-Pierre Poirier. “Rumours and misinformation literally cost lives by discouraging people to seek vaccination, the best tool available to avoid contracting and spreading deadly vaccine-preventable diseases, including COVID-19. I applaud the commitment of national governments and of these talented artists and influential community members, who are calling for everyone to support COVID-19 immunization efforts.”
Cobhams Asuquo said, “As Nigerians and as Africans, we have gone through too much to let this virus hold us back and endanger our futures that we are fighting so hard to make better. We need to do whatever we can to safeguard our future.”
“Vaccines have been saving the lives of Nigerians and children for many years – and we have to make sure they continue to. Thanks to vaccines, I know that my children will not have to suffer from polio, measles or smallpox. Thanks to vaccines, I know that I will not end up in the hospital with COVID-19 – leaving my family on their own. That is because vaccines work. They save lives,” said Cobhams.
In 2020, Cobhams Asuquo produced the widely-acclaimed song “We Go Win” to fight rumours and misinformation about COVID-19. The song was listened to by millions in Nigeria and beyond.
“I am here to tell you that vaccines save lives. As a child, I was vaccinated and I will get immunized against COVID-19 when the vaccine becomes available to me,” said Benin-born singer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angelique Kidjo, in a video to be released today. In May last year, Angelique Kidjo re-recorded Miriam Makeba’s 1967 hit song ‘Pata Pata’, to spread information about COVID-19, and reached hundreds of millions of people, including in remote communities around the world.
“We have two choices: either we stay idle and let the virus destroy what we built, or we stand up and use the vaccines as a weapon against COVID-19. Together, we are stronger,” said Fradique Mendes Ferreira from the band Calema, UNICEF Sao Tome e Principe Ambassador.
“COVID-19 vaccines present a real opportunity for us to get back to normal. For the art world, which has been severely impacted by the crisis, the vaccine is giving us hope that we’ll soon be able to reconnect with our fans. I encourage everyone, even those who are not yet sure about it, to get vaccinated in order to support health authorities’ efforts to fight back against the pandemic,” said A’salfo, from the band Magic System in Côte d’Ivoire.
“Vaccines have prevented polio, chickenpox and measles from spreading for generations. Soon, vaccines will help slow the spread of COVID-19 too,” said singer Safiath, a popular artist in Niger.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Nigeria, visit www.unicef.org/nigeria