As part of efforts to convince Nigerians that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and other top government functionaries will take the vaccine publicly, an official has said.
The vaccine will be injected into them and be transmitted on television, the Executive Director and CEO, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, said on Thursday at the media briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 pandemic.
Persecondnews recalls that former Nigerian Vice-President Atiku Abubakar had taken the vaccine in Dubai, while U.S President-elect Joe Biden had in December 2020 received the vaccine and transmitted live on TV to encourage Americans to use the vaccine.
Shuaib said: “What it means is that we will like to see a situation where Mr. President, the Vice President, the SGF, critical leaders come and take the vaccine in full glare of the public to demonstrate that this vaccines is safe.
“We have to make provisions for them even in developed countries what we have seen is that apart from the prioritization of health workers, you have to also identify critical leaders that you don’t want them to be wipe off by the virus.
“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.
“As much as possible you do not want to also leave your leaders vulnerable to COVID-19; 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,’’ he told newsmen.
On immunity, Shuaib said: “There is no shadow 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 take 10 years for you to be able to achieve immunity.
“The Swiss tried health immunity and I’m sure of 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.
“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, Public health experts.’’
Earlier on January 5, Shuaib had said Nigeria was planning to get 42 million COVID-19 vaccines for about one fifth of its population through the global COVAX scheme 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.
Also speaking at the briefing, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, cautioned Nigerians against relaxing and not taking the virus serious.
He said the vaccines being expected might not arrive “too soon’’.
“We need to be alive to get the 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,” Mamora, who was represented by the Director, Hospital Services in the ministry, Dr Adebimpe Adebiyi, said.
“New cases recorded as at Wednesday were 1,354 with one death recorded while 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, number of deaths till date is 1,324 with 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 while appropriate measures are being taken to achieve these objectives.’’