The Federal Government has said President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, and other prominent Nigerians will be among the first set to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on live television to help drive awareness.
Recalled that United States President-elect Joe Biden had December last year received a COVID-19 vaccine on live television in a demonstration intended to encourage Americans to receive shots of their own when they can.
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was also vaccinated against the coronavirus on live television Saturday, becoming the first Israeli and one of the world’s leaders to be inoculated.
The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, made this disclosure at Thursday’s briefing of the Presidential Task Force on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.
He appealed to Nigerians not to be hesitant on the vaccine when they arrive as key government officials like the president, VP and the SGF will take it on live TV.
“In terms of the prioritization of vaccines and strategic country leadership, the primary healthcare agency boss said, “what it means that on Tuesday I had mentioned that we will like to see a situation where Mr President, the Vice President, the SGF, critical leaders come and take the vaccine in the full glare of the public to demonstrate that this vaccine is safe. So we have to make provisions for those. But even in developed countries, what we have seen is that apart from the prioritization health workers, you have to also identify critical leaders that you don’t want them to be wiped off by the virus. For example, in warfare, if you want to destroy your enemies, you look for specific leaders, captains, the generals, once you decapitate them, then the soldiers will become weak.
So, as much as possible you do not want to also leave your leaders vulnerable to COVID-19, it doesn’t, it doesn’t mean you want to prioritize politicians, that is not correct. I emphasized during the last briefing that we will prioritize our health workers because they are the ones in direct contacts with cases in isolation units.”
On the infection abs health immunity, he said: “there is no shadows of doubt even from the different vaccines that we have used in the past, that it is always better to use the vaccines. For COVID-19 it will approximately 10 years for you to be able to achieve health immunity. So you can imagine how many people would have died if you have to rely on health immunity.
“The Swiss tried health immunity and I’m sure if you go through the information that is available, for a lot of people health immunity just doesn’t work. The Americans touted it and see what is happening in the US. Health immunity is not the way to go. The evidence is there that when you use vaccines you are more likely to quickly to attend health immunity, protect more people.
“So, I will like to reiterate that you must not give way to conspiracy theories. We must try to manage the information around the vaccines, where people do not understand please reach out to us those who are scientists, Publix health experts. All of us here are Nigerians who take the issue of the safety of Nigerians seriously.”
Shuaib, had earlier on Tuesday said Nigeria hopes to get 42 million COVID-19 vaccines to cover one-fifth of its population through the global COVAX scheme, church explaining that the initial vaccines would come as part of Nigeria’s plan to inoculate 40 percent of the population this year and another 30 percent in 2022, with 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arriving by the end of January.
The COVAX scheme was set up to provide vaccines to poorer countries such as Nigeria, whose 200 million people and poor infrastructure pose a daunting challenge to medical officials rolling out the vaccinations as the West African country battles a second, larger spike in coronavirus cases.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, has warned Nigerians against complacency in containing the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, saying the vaccines against the virus may not arrive in the country too soon.
Mamora, represented by the Director, Hospital Services, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Adebimpe Adebiyi, said that though the government is working very hard to get vaccines for the people, it may not come soon enough.
“Therefore, we need to be alive to get vaccines when they come. I have brought this up to underscore the importance of compliance with non-pharmaceutical measures as advised to reduce transmissibility of the virus,” she said.
She added that as of Wednesday new cases recorded were 1,354 with one death recorded; while a total number of cases tested is 1,004,915.
“Number of confirmed cases is 94,369. Active cases stand at 15,764. Discharged cases till date are 77,299. A number of deaths till date is 1,324 with a case fatality rate of 1.4 percent.
“The Federal Government is determined to ensure morbidity due to COVID-19 is reduced to the barest minimum while improving on the fatality rate. Appropriate measures are being taken to achieve these objectives,” she said.
Adebiyi said that a second phase assessment of the isolation and treatment centres country-wide to verify challenges is to be carried out immediately, to enable the government to provide appropriate intervention measures required to strengthen these centres.
“We continue to appeal to states to increase testing and contact tracing. The cooperation of the states with the Federal authorities is critical to our collective objective of defeating COVID-19,” she added.