THE Federal Government has confirmed that the movement of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to  states has commenced on Monday while its delivery will be completed on Tuesday (today).

The Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, stated this during a press conference of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

During the event, the Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, led all members of the PTF and four journalists to receive the doses of the vaccine.

Shuaib said, “The movement of the vaccine to the states has commenced today (Monday). All things being equal, the delivery of the vaccine will be completed tomorrow.

“The delivery of the vaccine to the states is predicated on satisfactorily meeting the conditions to keep it safe and potent. We are designating Vaccine Accountability Officers in the states and local government areas to closely monitor the management and utilisation of the vaccine. These VAOs will also ensure retrieval of vaccine vials for proper disposal.”

After the vaccination of Mustapha, other members of the PTF team took turns to get vaccinated.

They were the Ministers of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Environment, Muhammad Mahmood; Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyema and World Health Organisation Representative in Nigeria, Walter Mulombo.

Others were Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Shuaib; Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu; SGF Director of Press, Willie Bassey; Permanent Secretary (General Services Office in OSGF), Dr Maurice Nnamdi; and former Permanent Secretary GSO, Olusegun Adekunle.

The vaccine was also taken by the Permanent Secretary (Political, OSGF), Andrew Adejoh; PTF National Incident Manager, Dr Mohammed Mukhtar; Director-General and Chief Executive Officer for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Captain Musa Nuhu and Head of Department, Surveillance and Epidemiology Department (NCDC), Elsie Ilori.

Also, four journalists who were considered part of the critical front-liners in the fight against coronavirus received the vaccine in a representative manner.

They were Friday Okeeregbe of Channels Television; Hassan Tukur of Liberty Television; Nancy Oyediyaurum of Africa Independent Television and Rahila Lassa of Voice of Nigeria.

Mustapha said, “In this war, we are all involved because nobody is safe until everybody is safe. Our ultimate objective is to vaccinate about 70 per cent of our population, which is about 200 million, between year 2021 and 2022.

“The process of orderly rollout, deployment and administration of the vaccine will, undoubtedly, further test our ability to do things properly and strategically. Real time authentic information must go out, mobilisation must be effective and timely, while transparency and accountability must be evident in all we are doing to the last mile.

“All these shall involve the governors, our legislators, all sub-national entities, the media, traditional and religious leaders, civil society organisations, business communities, labour organisations, leaders of thought, and parents.”

According to him, the Ministry of Aviation and the NCAA have been tasked to take necessary reciprocal measures against Emirate and Lufthansa airlines as may be permissible under the laws and other international obligations as regards the month old engagement with the authorities of the UAE and the Netherlands over pre-departure testing requirements passengers should meet before travelling from Nigeria.

He reiterated the call to Nigerians not to allow vaccine hesitancy propagated through conspiracy theories sway them from the path of doing the right thing.

The SGF said, “Taking the vaccine will protect you, your loved ones and the entire community. I similarly wish to warn against patronising unauthorised vaccine peddlers.”

Source: PUNCH