The federal government has commenced the movement of AstraZeneca vaccine to all the states of the federation.

The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said at the media briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 yesterday in Abuja that the distribution of the vaccine would be completed today.

According to him, the federal government is designating Vaccine Accountability Officers (VAOs) in the states and local government areas to closely monitor the management and utilisation of the vaccine as well as ensure retrievals of vaccine vials for proper disposal.

Shuaib assured the nation that adequate provisions have been made to deploy the vaccines in all the states and vaccination sites where people will be vaccinated.

He stated that the state launch of the COVID-19 vaccination for frontline health workers is slated for today while governors will launch the vaccination tomorrow. Also, the statewide rollout of COVID-19 vaccine will commence from March 12.

“It is expected that states will roll out vaccination only when local government areas have met the minimum criteria for successful conduct of the campaigns. Parameters such as – training, cold chain status, preposition of data tools, availability of transport/logistics for healthcare workers, adequate security for vaccines, etc should be the yardsticks for going ahead with implementation,” he said.

However, the federal government mandated the Ministry of Aviation and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to take necessary reciprocal measures as may be permissible under the laws and other international obligations against Emirates Airlines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for stopping regular flights into the country after the federal government declined their request to subject Nigerian passengers to COVID-19 rapid antigen test four hours before departure.

Chairman of PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, said the federal government had also petitioned the United Arab Emirates and The Netherlands over the airlines’ attitude.

Meanwhile, members of the PTF on COVID-19 and journalists covering the PTF briefings have received doses of AstraZeneca vaccine.

They also received certificates of vaccination.

Mustapha led other members in receiving the vaccine that were administered by the supervising nurses, Obuba Horsefall, Lucy Adaga and Ogonna Obodia.

Those that also received the jabs included the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; Minister of Environment, Muhammad Mahmood and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama.

Shuaib, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo; the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu; the PTF National Incident Manager, Dr. Mukhtar Mohammed and Director-General, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, were among those vaccinated.

Mustapha described the vaccination as a further demonstration of the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, adding that the process of orderly rollout, deployment and administration of the vaccine will test the country’s ability to do things properly and strategically.