Vaccine distribution begins, Lagos, others wait, SGF, others take jabs

Our correspondents

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.”

Gambari vaccinated, says vaccine safe, painless

Meanwhile, the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, on Monday led some presidential aides and top government officials to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the State House Clinic in Abuja.

Others who were vaccinated at the health facility included the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar; the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.); the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina; and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

They were vaccinated by the Chief Nursing Officer of the State House Clinic, Esther Ibrahim.

Shortly after he was vaccinated, Gambari called on eligible Nigerians to come forward for vaccination.

He said, “My experience in receiving this was almost painless and I am just following the footstep of my leader, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, who has demonstrated leadership at the highest level by receiving the vaccine, followed by His Excellency, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.”

Lagos, Imo, Plateau, others yet to receive vaccine

However, the Imo State Government on Monday said it had yet to receive its own share of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, told our correspondent on the telephone that the state government was expecting the vaccine in no distant time.

Asked the number of doses the state was expecting, the commissioner said he was not aware.

Also, the Commissioner for Health in Oyo State, Dr Bashir Bello, said the state had not taken delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine from the Federal Government.

Bello added that no state government had received the vaccine which arrived in the country about a week ago.

Similarly, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, said the state had yet to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from the Federal Government.

Omotosho, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said the state which had been the epicentre of the virus had not got the vaccine.

“Not yet, we are waiting,” Omotosho said.

In the same vein, the Executive Secretary of the Kwara State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Nusirat Elelu, disclosed that the state had yet to collect the COVID-19 vaccine from the apex government.

Elelu in Ilorin on Monday said, “No, we have not collected the vaccines yet.”

Also, the Taraba State Government on Monday said the state was still expecting to receive the vaccine.

The state Commissioner for Information and Re-Orientation, Danjuma Adamu, said although NAFDAC had certified the vaccine for use in Nigeria, the state was waiting to take delivery of the vaccine.

Another state still expecting the COVID vaccine is Plateau, just as the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Nimkong Lar, said Plateau was working hard to fulfil the conditions given to it by the Federal Government before taking delivery of the vaccine.

But the Katsina State Government on Monday said it was expecting its consignment of COVID-19 vaccine anytime next week.

The Executive Secretary, State Primary Health Care Agency, Dr. Yahaya Shamsudeen, confirmed the development on Monday.

He said the allocation to be given the state would be determined by a logistics committee set up by the National Health Care Agency.

Ogun receives vaccine

So far, only Ogun State has received its share of COVID-19 vaccine.

Governor Dapo Abiodun, on Monday took delivery of 50,000 doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine from the Federal Government.

The governor received the vaccine at the Governor’s Office, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, shortly after the arrival of the team led by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, who was accompanied by officials of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and World Health Organisation.

The governor said Ogun was the first state to receive the vaccine.

He added that the 50,000 doses were the first batch of 100,000 expected in the state, revealing that another batch of 50,000 doses would be in the state by Tuesday.

Abiodun said he and his deputy, Noimot Salako-Oyedele would lead the vaccination at a later date to be fixed by the state medical team.

He said, “We will be prioritising our frontline health workers, our elders and w e go down the line as stipulated by NPHCDA.”

Stories by: Olalekan Adetayo, Friday Olokor, Dayo Ojerinde, Olufemi Olaniyi, Chidiebube Okeoma, Tunde Oyekola, Justin Tyopuusu, James Abraham, James Abraham, Daud Olatunji, Olaide Oyelude

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