President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and other prominent Nigerians would be among the first set of Nigerians to receive COVID-19 vaccine when it arrived the country.
Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, made this disclosure at yesterday’s briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 saying Nigerians should not be hesitant with the vaccine when it arrives as they plan to get “Mr. President, Vice President, the SGF, critical leaders come and take the vaccine in full glare of the public to demonstrate that this vaccine is safe.”
He said even in developed countries, political leaders had to be given priority in the vaccination alongside healthcare workers and that there was nothing wrong with what Nigeria planned to do.
Shuaib had on Tuesday said Nigeria hoped to get 42 million COVID-19 vaccines to cover one fifth of its population through the global COVAX scheme, explaining that the initial vaccines would come as part of Nigeria’s plan to inoculate 40 per cent of its population this year and another 30 per cent in 2022, with 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arriving by the end of January.
Minister of State Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora also warned Nigerians against complacency in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, saying vaccines against the virus may not arrived the country too soon.
The PTF has decried the decision of most Nigerians to lower their guards following the discovery of vaccines for the virus saying those doing so were misinformed.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and PTF chairman, Boss Mustapha, warned that those no longer adhering to protocols because vaccines were discovered were risking their lives.
He said government was working round the clock to secure a safe and right vaccines for the country even as he urged the media, traditional, religious and community leaders to pass the right message to their followers “so that together, we can win this war against this virus. To overcome some of these challenges, the PTF will intensify the risk communication and community engagement to create awareness. The share level of doubts about the virus is alarming and I call on every one to become advocates in support of the National Response.”
Mustapha commended stand-up comedian, Atunyota Akpobome, popularly known as Alibaba, for coming out to share his experience and urged Nigerians to be cautious and keep safe, saying COVID-19 pandemic was real.
Akpobome claimed that he just survived the deadly virus and in a call on his verified Instagram page (alibabagcfr) on Monday advised Nigerians to desist from describing COVID-19 pandemic as a scam.
“Alibaba clip has provided answers to several of the misinformation and distortions out there. That clip gives a testimony of his experience and his candid warning to Nigerians about the reality of COVID-19 and the fact that it is not a thing you can take lightly,” Mustapha said.
He said that the PTF was working to develop new Health Protection Regulations to support existing COVID-19 protocols and to strengthen compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions across the country.
He described as embarrassing the fact that some Nigerians were still presenting fake results when travelling outside the shores of the country.
“The PTF has directed private laboratories to immediately put in place measures to validate results and ensure that all passengers are registered on the travel portal before samples are processed to stop this activity.”
“We are constantly reviewing our strategy to emerging situations especially in risk communication, vaccine hesitancy, fake news/disinformation. We call on the general public to remain focus on the drive to reduce the level of infection and make our country safe again. We urge the sub-nationals to enforce relevant measures that will help to curb the effect of this virus on our lives and livelihood.”