COVID-19 Vaccination: Buhari Asks Governors, Others To Take The Lead
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged all state governments, as well as traditional and religious leaders to take the lead in the mobilisation effort within their environment and spheres of influence, as Nigeria launches the COVID-19 vaccination exercise.
He made the plea on Saturday shortly after he took the first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine jab along with the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The President described his decision to take the vaccine in public as a demonstration of leadership and faith in the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.
“I have received my first jab and I wish to recommend it to all eligible Nigerians, to do the same so that we can be protected from the virus,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
He added, “The vaccine offers hope for a safe country, free of coronavirus.
“I similarly urge all eligible Nigerians to present themselves and be vaccinated in accordance with the order of priority already mapped out, at the various authorised designated centres only.”
President Buhari and his vice received the first shots of the vaccine in the presence of members of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, and senior government officials, among others.
The personal physician to the President, Dr Sanusi Raafindadi, administered the vaccine to him while that of the Vice President was done by his personal physician, Dr Nicholas Audifferen.
– Unseen, But Potent Enemy –
President Buhari congratulated the PTF on the successful multi-sectoral approach to the management of the pandemic.
He also acknowledged and commended the support of governments, donors, development partners, the private sector, traditional and religious leaders, as well as critical stakeholders who have supported Nigeria’s response to the pandemic.
The President who assured them that all the resources would be equitably administered noted that since the beginning of the year 2020, humanity had remained under the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic – an unseen but very potent enemy around the world.
He said, “Infection from the virus has resulted in over two million and five hundred thousand fatalities and destroyed several global and national systems.
“The response in Nigeria and the ECOWAS sub-region has been robust, collaborative, and united. It was driven by a collective knowledge of the fact that no country is safe until every country is safe.”
“The speedy development of the COVID-19 vaccines is quite significant and underscores the collective resolve of humanity to overcome the pandemic.
“Similarly, the collaborative effort to ensure equal access has brought relief to poor and developing countries,” President Buhari added.
He echoed the assurance by the PTF that the AstraZeneca vaccine which Nigeria has accessed would arrive in batches, beginning with the almost four million doses already received.
The President was hopeful that the rollout and administration plan of the government would cater to over 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population in 2021 and 2022.