President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha and other prominent Nigerians will be among the first people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on live television to help drive awareness, it has emerged.
Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said this at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) briefing on COVID-19 on Thursday in Abuja.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria intends to get 42 million COVID-19 vaccines to cover one fifth of its population through the global COVAX scheme.
The initial vaccines would come as part of Nigeria’s plan to inoculate 40 per cent of the population in 2021 and another 30 per cent in 2022, with 100,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine arriving by the end of January 2021.
COVAX scheme was set up to provide vaccines to poorer countries including Nigeria whose 200 million people and poor infrastructure posed a daunting challenge to medical officials rolling out the vaccinations
According to Shuaib, President Buhari and other prominent Nigerians are willing to be among the first set of Nigerians to receive the vaccine on live television to help drive acceptance.
This is in accordance with terms of the prioritisation of vaccines and strategic country leadership. These critical leaders and others would likely take the vaccine in full glare of the public to demonstrate that this vaccine is safe. So, we have to make provisions for them.
Even in developed countries, what we have seen is that apart from the prioritisation of health workers, you have to also identify with critical leaders that you don’t want 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.
He however noted that health workers would be prioritised because they are the ones in direct contacts with cases in isolation units.