The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 says it is important for Nigerians to get immunised against COVID-19 when the vaccines are available.
PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu stated this when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics. He noted that the Federal Government would ensure as many Nigerians as possible get the vaccines, but that would be done at the individual’s will.
“Government will not press you down and inject you with the vaccine, no; it is going to be voluntary but it will be free and it will be initially for a specific group of people. We are going to prioritise healthcare workers; we are going to prioritise the elderly – those above the age of 60… because these are the set of people that are most likely to have severe COVID-19 infection,” the PTF coordinator revealed.
He added, “We look forward to having the vaccine in the coming four weeks and hopefully the first batch will arrive by the end of January, and those people who don’t want to vaccinate, we will try as much as we can to convince them.”
Aliyu advised Nigerians to come out and get vaccinated when they are available, especially those who plan to travel out of the country for one reason or the other. According to him, those who do not receive the vaccines may be stuck when countries begin to demand a certificate before granting travelers entry in the next six months to a year.
For the PTF coordinator, the implication will be that such person will be unable to travel to Saudi Arabia for hajj, or for Christian pilgrimage in Israel, or on holiday and business trips to Dubai, China, and South Africa, among other countries. If the vaccine was available today in this country, I will have it, and my family will have it, and I am very sure that vast majority of Nigerians will accept the vaccine because the vaccine, together with the non-pharmaceutical interventions, is the only way we can get on top of this epidemic,” he said.
Aliyu also faulted the insinuations that COVID-19 was not real; saying more than two dozens of people lost the battle to the virus in the last one week. He advised those spreading such news to desist from it, stressing that the country reported alarming figures of confirmed cases in the previous week.
The PTF coordinator said, “All I can say is (that) 33 people died of COVID-19 in the last one week, are we saying that those people died for nothing? COVID-19 exists; anybody who says COVID-19 does not exist is probably living in a completely different world. The international community, they are not stupid enough to introduce something that will harm their people; these vaccines have been tried.”