The governors of Nigeria’s 36 states have agreed to take the COVID-19 vaccine on live television to help drive acceptance among the populace.
The chairman of the Nigeria’s Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi, made this known on Friday in Abuja when he fielded questions from State House Correspondents at the end of a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We too will like to demonstrate to our citizens that we believe that vaccines will work.
“The Governors’ Forum managed the polio vaccines administration in the country and we have garnered a lot of experience.
“We have worked with the Primary Healthcare Development Agency and the Federal Ministry of Health.
“We will be happy to work with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and the Primary Healthcare Development Agency on this as well.
“So, we would take a lead as well in our various states,” said Fayemi, who is also the Governor of Ekiti.
Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, at the PTF briefing on COVID-19 on Thursday in Abuja, said the President, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and other prominent Nigerians had expressed readiness to receive the vaccine on live television.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Nigeria intends to get 42 million COVID-19 vaccines to cover one-fifth of its population through the global COVAX scheme.
The initial vaccines would come as part of Nigeria’s plan to inoculate 40 per cent of the population in 2021 and another 30 per cent in 2022 with 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine expected to arrive in the country by the end of January 2021.
Mr Fayemi commended the PTF on COVID-19 for resolving to use the president and the vice president as the publicity vehicles for reassuring those who might have doubts about the vaccines.
“But the good thing is that Mr President has agreed with me that he would convey to the PTF the necessity of using other influencers.
“Maybe the Chief Imams, the Bishops, top musicians and our sports personalities.
“The more of such people are seen taking the vaccines, the more the likelihood of resistance break down in our various localities,” Mr Fayemi said.
The governor, who said that he discussed the issue of vaccine management with the president, stressed the urgent need for Nigeria to ramp up the manufacturing of vaccines locally.
He also urged the Federal Government to accelerate its partnership with May & Baker to produce the COVID-19 vaccines locally to reduce cost and ensure quick delivery.
“There is nothing as good as having the ability to manufacture our own vaccines locally.
“It is important for the Federal Government to really accelerate so that we can produce the vaccines here in Nigeria and not be dependent on what is coming from other parts,“ Mr Fayemi said.