Plans are being made for the Nigerian President Muhammadu and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on live television, Faisal Shuaib, executive director and chief executive officer, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has said.
Shuaib spoke on Thursday at the media briefing of the country’s Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, held in the nation’s capital Abuja and noted that administering the vaccine to the country’s leaders on live TV will form part of efforts to promote awareness.
Nigeria is expected to receive around 100,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at the end of January.
“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.”
At the PTF briefing on Tuesday, Shuaib had 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.
By Abel Ejikeme