By Olawale Ajimotokan
The federal government has owned up that acquiring the COVID-19 vaccine for the public is a challenging task before the country because of the global politics around vaccines. To that effect, it has appealed to Nigerians to continue to maintain Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) as the safest protection from the virus.
The Chairman Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, who spoke yesterday at the PTF press briefing in Abuja noted that the country could be in a tight corner given the international politics of securing the vaccines and ensuring the generality of Nigerians are vaccinated.
Mustapha also said that the forthcoming Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting next week will be exclusively devoted to the subject of coronavirus vaccine.
“Vaccines are no use to us unless the vaccination process takes place. That is a major challenge. Even with the developed economy, what they are busy doing is to set up an infrastructure for the vaccination itself because vaccines will not be of any use if we don’t vaccinate the people. There is a lot of work we have to do in that regard.
“Agencies and our primary healthcare must begin to put the infrastructure in place that when we get the vaccine, they can speedily determine those that will benefit from the vaccine as the vaccine will be available for everyone at the same time. And is another danger. The only vaccine that is free is to adhere to NPIs.
“Vaccination is another ball game altogether. The politics of securing the vaccine is in itself a difficult politics as you require a lot of resources. There will be a lot of competition as everyone wants to get the vaccine over to their country and when you get them, the logistics. Some of them are going to be kept at a temperature of -70. There are refrigerators that have those capabilities but they are scarce. And the big nations will begin to corner all these things by cornering the franchise of the manufacturers. It is a dangerous situation in which the world has found itself and it is a survival of the fittest. My appeal- let stay with what we have for which we don’t pay anything; NPIs,” Mustapha said.
He also said that the first stream of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has concluded camping while the second scheme will go camping on December 3 and the third stream in January next year.