President Muhammadu Buhari and others are to receive the COVID-19 vaccine dose “in the open”.
This is according to the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, who explained the rationale behind the decision.
Although he did not give a specific time as to when President Buhari would be vaccinated, he answered affirmatively when specifically asked if the vaccine would be administered to the President and others publicly.
“Why not? Because we want to let the people know that this vaccine is safe, that is why we will do it in the open because we need to generate that confidence and build trust in the people,” Mamora said on Monday while featuring as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
He explained, “Even in a war situation, you will want to protect as much as possible the strategic leaders of the country. Of course, Mr President, the governors… that’s what we refer to as strategic leadership.”
The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, had hinted on Saturday that Nigeria would soon receive the first tranche of the COVID-19 vaccine on March 2, 2021.
Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), disclosed that the first shipment of 3,924,000 million doses of vaccines would be coming from COVAX, a World Health Organisation (WHO)-backed initiative set up to procure and ensure equitable distribution of vaccines for free among countries across the world.
Less than 24 hours to the delivery of the vaccines, Mamora explained that the vaccine would be administered in the order of priority.
The first set of people to be considered, according to him, include the frontline health workers, the elderly, and strategic leaders in the country.
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Despite receiving the vaccine elsewhere, he insisted that incoming travellers would be made to observe the existing protocols to curb the spread of the disease.
The minister said, “The protocol is there already which is the need to produce evidence of having taken the PCR test within the stipulated time limit which is about 72 hours before boarding, and then even when they come into the country, they will go into isolation and on the seventh day, they will still be required to do the PCR test.
“It doesn’t matter (if they have been vaccinated) because having been vaccinated does not absolutely say that you cannot get the infection, what the vaccine guarantees is that if you get the infection, you are not likely to succumb.”