By Olawale Ajimotokan
President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will on Saturday, March 6, 2021, be among the key national figures to receive the first dosage of Oxford Astra-Zeneca COVID- 19 vaccines scheduled to arrive in Abuja today.
The federal government will also deploy soldiers to secure the cold rooms where these vaccines are stored nationwide.
The Executive Director National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib revealed this yesterday at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing to unveil the national vaccine roll-out plan.
It was gathered that the vaccine will only be administered on the President after it is handed over to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFCAC), for analysis over a period of two days- Wednesday and Thursday- after the ceremonies to mark the arrival of the vaccines.
Shuaib said that after the vaccination of the President and the Vice President and sequel to the clearance by NAFDAC, the PTF, Federal Ministry of Health and NPHCDA, the first national vaccination site will be set up at the treatment centre of the National Hospital in Abuja on Friday, March 5, 2021, to commence the vaccination of the frontline health workers and support staff.
Afterward, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Inspector General of Police, the Federal Ministers, Senators, House of Representatives members, traditional leaders and religious leaders would be vaccinated on March 8, at the vaccination sites to be set up at designated locations, including National Assembly Clinic, State House Clinic and Federal Medical Centre, Jabi.
“After this launch and initial roll-out phase, vaccine distribution to the states for the phase 1 vaccination process will begin. This phase is the vaccination of all frontline health workers, their supporting staff and strategic leaders,” Shuaib said.
He also reiterated that soldiers and policemen will be deployed to protect the cold stores which are valuable national assets from being vandalised by looters.
He noted once activities have commenced in the states, there would be strict monitoring of the vaccination by PTF, Ministry of Health, NPHCDA and independent bodies such as EFCC, DSS, ICPC, and Civil Society Organisations, warning that states/health facilities and health workers that are identified as defaulting from the standard protocol and guidelines for this phase of vaccination would be sanctioned.
The phase 3 vaccination process involves vaccination of those between 18 – 49years with co-morbidities (such as hypertension, diabetes, lung disease, other heart disease, liver or renal disease, etc) while phase 4 vaccination process would involve vaccination of the rest of the eligible population between the ages 18 – 49years.
The NPHCDA Executive Director urged all eligible Nigerians aged 18 years and above to be patient as they will eventually, be vaccinated as the vaccines arrive in batches due to limited supply.
Also speaking at the briefing the Chairman PTF, Mr. Boss Mustapha, assured that vaccines coming to Nigeria are safe and efficacious. He also noted that while the development of vaccines is a ray of hope and is a welcome development, vaccines alone cannot be a solution.