President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha and other prominent Nigerians will be among the first set of Nigerians to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on live television.
They are expected to receive the first dose of the vaccine on Saturday, March 6.
The Executive Director/CEO, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, said this on Monday at the joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
Recall that four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines will arrive in the country from India on Tuesday.
Shuaib had, on January 7, said Buhari, Vice President Osinbajo, the SGF and other prominent Nigerians will be among the first set of Nigerians to receive the vaccine.
According to him, this is to help drive awareness on the virus and the vaccine administration in the country when it finally arrives.
He urged Nigerians not to be hesitant about the vaccines when they arrive.
At Monday’s briefing, Faisal said the first batch of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is about 3,924,000 doses, is expected to arrive in Nigeria Tuesday, 2 March 2021 at 11:10 am.
He assured Nigerians that all necessary safety and quality control measures have been put in place for the arrival, storage and successful administration of the vaccine in the country.
According to him, there is going to be a mini ceremony chaired by the Chairman of the PTF on COVID-19 to receive the vaccine at the VIP Protocol section, General Aviation Terminal of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
He said at the end of the ceremony to mark the arrival of the vaccines, a few vials of the vaccines would be handed over to the NAFDAC team which they will analyse over a period of two days (Wednesday, March 3 and Thursday, March 4).
“Further to the clearance by NAFDAC, the PTF, FMOH, NPHCDA and strategic leaders will be at the treatment centre of the National Hospital on Friday, March 5th 2021, where the first vaccination site will be set up to commence the vaccination of the frontline health workers and support staff.
These Staff would also be electronically registered in the COVID-19 vaccine database and would receive their COVID-19 vaccination card which has a QR code that can be verified worldwide.
“On Saturday, March 6th, key strategic leaders will receive the first dose of the vaccine,” Faisal said.
Vaccine’ distribution to be monitored by EFCC
The NPHCDA boss said in collaboration with CACOVID, plans were on the ground for a cargo plane to transport the vaccines to the states by air.
According to him, states without a functional airport will have their vaccines transported by road using vans with fitted Cold Cabins, from the nearest airport.
“The vaccines will be stored at the State Cold Stores, from where they will be transported by road to LGA Cold Stores.
“Once activities have commenced in the states, there would be strict monitoring by PTF, FMOH, NPHCDA and independent bodies such as EFCC, DSS, ICPC, and Civil Society Organisations.
“States/health facilities/health workers that are identified as defaulting from the standard protocol and guidelines for this phase of vaccination would be sanctioned,” Shuaib said.
He added that while the first phase is ongoing, the national team would be ready for the arrival of the next batch of vaccines which would be used for the next phase of vaccination.
He said the Phase 2 vaccination process involves the elderly from 50 years and above and that this has been sub-grouped into two, with the vaccination of 60 and above occurring first followed by 50–59 years.
He said: “This will occur across all 36 States and the FCT. Those who are eligible for vaccination that have not registered electronically would be assisted at the designated health facility and would be vaccinated.
“The phase 3 vaccination process involves vaccination of those between 18–49 years with co-morbidities (such as hypertension, diabetes, lung disease, other heart diseases, liver or renal disease, etc).
“Individuals at ages 50 and above with co-morbidities would already have been Immunized within their age group.
“The phase 4 vaccination process would involve vaccination of the rest of the eligible population between the ages of 18–49 years.
“It is worthy to note that at each phase of vaccination, the level of preparedness of the states are assessed before vaccines are deployed and accountability measures have been put in place to ensure strict compliance to the vaccination process.
“Pregnant women will be evaluated by their health providers to weigh the benefit versus risk before a decision is taken to vaccinate them.”
Shuaib added that earlier on Monday, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, launched the indigenous T.E.A.C.H strategy for COVID-19 vaccination and Electronic Management of Immunization Data system.
He said that this is to ensure safe and effective vaccination of prioritized and eligible Nigerians against COVID-19.
He said: “Following the launching, through a unique link available on NPHCDA website, Twitter handle, Facebook and Instagram, we have commenced electronic self-registration of health workers.
“This will enable us to avoid crowding at vaccination posts as the registered health workers will be scheduled and reminded of their vaccination date via SMS and email.
“We urge all eligible Nigerians aged 18 years and above to be patient as we will eventually vaccinate them.
“As the vaccines arrive in batches due to limited supply, we will inform Nigerians about who and where to receive the vaccine.
“A comprehensive and transparent roll-out plan that involves public vaccination of President Muhammadu Buhari and other important dignitaries and stakeholders has been developed.
“Again, this is to assure Nigerians on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines that we are bringing into the country.”