The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has disclosed that the duo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo would be administered the first dose of Covid-19 vaccines on live television. This strategy, he said, would promote public awareness about the vaccine and also dispel rumours, in some quarters, about the perceived negative side effects of the vaccine.
Faisal Shuaib, executive director and chief executive officer of NPHCDA disclosed this in Abuja at the media briefing of the presidential task force (PTF) on Covid-19 on Thursday.
He added that frontline health workers would also be given priority on receiving the vaccine when the doses arrive in Nigeria.
“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 these vaccines are safe. So we have to make provisions for those,” he said.
“Even in developed countries, what we have seen is that apart from the prioritisation of 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 mean you want to prioritise politicians; that is not correct. I emphasised during the last briefing that we will prioritise our health workers because they are the ones in direct contact with cases in isolation units.”
In all, the NPHCDA said the country hopes to get 42 million doses through the COVAX initiative, to ensure that 40 per cent of the country’s population receives the vaccine in 2021, while another 30 per cent will be vaccinated in 2022. About 100,000 doses of the estimated 42 million are expected in the country at the end of January.