From Esther Akaa, Lafia
The Federal Government of Nigeria has assured of its commitment to providing safe COVID-19 vaccines to citizens to check spread of the virus in the country.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-I9, Mr Boss Mustapha disclosed this on Tuesday at a Town Hall meeting on COVID-I9 vaccination in the North Central geo-political zone, held in Lafia, Nasarawa state.
According to him, at least 70 percent of the country’s population would be vaccinated between 2021 and 2022, in line with a rolled out plan for the vaccination.
He said the country has since received about 4 million doses of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine with over 1 million Nigerians, including President Muhammadu Buhari so far vaccinated.
He said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has put in place, containment measures to respond appropriately to COVID-I9 with constitution of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-I9 now called the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-I9, aimed at fighting against the spread of the virus in the country.
“This meeting is the first in the series and we will cover the six geo-political zones of this country. I wish to enjoin all stakeholders to mobilise all their community members to take advantage of the availability of COVID-I9 vaccines and get vaccinated against the virus and stop the transmission until we get the cure for COVID-I9.
“We have not received any report of serious adverse effects due to the vaccination. This vaccine is safe and efficacious in preventing the spread of the virus,” he said.
The SGF enjoined stakeholders to promote the COVID-I9 vaccination campaign and disabuse the minds of people from fake and unconfirmed news about the vaccination.
Also speaking, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, called for collaborative efforts between relevant stakeholders, in ensuring that Nigerians are vaccinated, even as he charged them to promote the vaccination exercise as well as observe the COVID-19 protocols.
“This point is due for emphasis because the act of vaccination does not yet free us from these precautions, which till further notice are still as relevant as on the day they were prescribed.
“As of today over a million eligible persons have received their first dose of the vaccine, with the second dose assured,” he stated.
He reassured traditional, faith based and community leaders that the vaccines delivered to Nigeria were tested as safe, and urged leaders to recommend it to their subjects as the best protection against the dreaded disease.
On his part, Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, who expressed appreciation to the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 for choosing Nasarawa as the venue for the meeting said the state has vaccinated the target group for the first dose and arrangement has been concluded to commence the 2nd dose of the vaccine in the third week of May 2021.
“Today’s event, I believe will be an impetus to the sensitisation and mobilization for the people of Nasarawa State to accept to take the vaccine as one of the measures to control the spread of the virus. This endeavour is necessary, considering the negative rumour peddling on social media to discourage the vaccination,” he said.
Earlier, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, said the first of the four-phase vaccination exercise was currently ongoing and targeted frontline health workers and support personnel, first responders including military and paramilitary, journalists among others.
He called on eligible population to avail themselves for the vaccination as it is safe.
The North Central zone town hall meeting on COVID-I9 vaccination, organised by the Presidential Steering Committee in collaboration with NPHCDA was the first of the scheduled meetings to hold in all the six geo-political zones of the country, aimed at briefing citizens on the importance and benefits of vaccination against COVID-19, through community leaders.