THE federal government says states that are yet to meet safety requirements will not get the newly arrived AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
Faisal Shuaib, executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said this during a State House briefing on Thursday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
According to Shuaib, strategic leaders in the country would take the vaccine first before distribution to states would take place.
“After we are able to get our strategic leaders to publicly demonstrate that these vaccines are safe, the plan is to now go to the state level to start the launch at the treatment centres of the states and also get strategic leaders such as governors to publicly take the vaccines.
“By the time all of these happen, we will have finished all of the necessary preparations, we will have created a dashboard that will track very carefully the status of the preparedness of the states,” Shuaib said.
“For example, we have communicated to the states that they have to wrap up their security around their cold stores because these are very valuable vaccines and we do not want a situation where vaccines are taken to the states and criminal elements take advantage to vandalise these cold stores,” the NPHCDA boss stated.
However, he noted that the government was aware that cold stores were vandalised during the #ENDSARS protest and some states were already working to fix it.
Muhammed Ohitoto, spokesperson for the NPHCDA, was contacted to provide the list of states that had met the requirements, but there was no response as of the time of filing this report.
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Frontline health workers, Buhari, Osinbajo, others to receive vaccines
The NPHCDA boss also disclosed that frontline health workers of the National Hospital, Abuja, would launch the vaccination programme on Friday.
He added that the launch would be conducted by Boss Mustapha, chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and secretary to the government of the federation (SGF).
“The plan is to vaccinate the frontline health workers that work in the treatment centre of the National Hospital. Those will be the first people just like we have communicated that frontline health workers will be the first people to take the vaccines,” Shuaib noted.
Shuaib further stated that President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice president Yemi Osinbajo and other ‘strategic leaders’ would receive the vaccine on Saturday to increase public confidence in getting vaccinated.
“As you are well aware that even before the vaccines arrived in Nigeria, there is a lot of hesitancy. It is a global phenomenon. Vaccine hesitancy is similar no matter where you are, you have to provide the right information and to those people who have questions, we cannot dismiss their cynicism,” Shuaib said.