COVID-19 Vaccine: FG To Prioritise Health Workers, Elderly, Strategic Leaders

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Nigerian authorities say the expected COVID-19 vaccine would be administered in the order of priority, less than 24 hours to the arrival of the vaccine.

The Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, disclosed this on Monday while highlighting the preparedness of the government to take delivery of the vaccines.

Speaking during his appearance on Channels Television’s breakfast programme – Sunrise Daily, he noted that the frontline health workers would be the first set of people to get the vaccine.

“The first will be the frontline health workers because they are facing the battle heavily. They will come first then, secondly, we will look at the elderly – those above 60, 65 years and particularly with comorbidities (people who have existing health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease – they will also be in that group.

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“We will also be looking and the strategic leadership of the country, and then we would be looking at some other people like those at the point of entry, border post managers, and things like that; This will be the order in terms of priority for now,” the minister stated.

He explained that those referred to as strategic leaders comprise President Muhammadu Buhari, state governors, and other key public office holders in the country.

Defending the decision to include the President and others among the first set of people to be vaccinated, Mamora said, “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.”

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Asked if the vaccine would be administered to the President and others publicly, he answered affirmatively.

“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.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, had announced that Nigeria would soon receive the first tranche of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said last Saturday 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.

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He had hinted that the vaccines would depart India on Monday and arrive in Abuja on March 2, 2021.

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