Yusuf Bello| President Muhammadu Buhari and vice president Yemi Osinbajo on Saturday received the AstraZeneca vaccine, a day after the Federal Government launched the vaccination exercise in the country.
The President took the vaccine jab at the new Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The vaccine was administered to the President by his chief personal physician, Dr. Sanusi Raafindadi, in the presence of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and some members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Shortly after President Buhari took the vaccine jab, Professor Osinbajo also received the vaccine which was also administered to him by his chief personal physician, Dr. Nicholas Audifferen.
Both leaders were later presented with electronic cards containing the details of their vaccinations by the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib.
Shortly after his vaccination, President Buhari urged all state governments, as well as traditional and religious leaders to take the lead in the mobilisation effort within their environment and spheres of influence, as Nigeria launches the COVID-19 vaccination exercise.
According to a statement by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, Buhari described his decision to take the vaccine in public as a demonstration of leadership and faith in the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.
“I have received my first jab and I wish to recommend it to all eligible Nigerians, to do the same so that we can be protected from the virus,” the President was quoted to have said.
“The vaccine offers hope for a safe country, free of coronavirus.
“I similarly urge all eligible Nigerians to present themselves and be vaccinated in accordance with the order of priority already mapped out, at the various authorised designated centres only.”
President Buhari who congratulated the PTF on the successful multi-sectoral approach to the management of the pandemic, acknowledged and commended the support of governments, donors, development partners, the private sector, traditional and religious leaders, as well as critical stakeholders who have supported Nigeria’s response to the pandemic.
He assured them that all the resources would be equitably administered, noting that since the beginning of the year 2020, humanity had remained under the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic – an unseen but very potent enemy around the world.
“Infection from the virus has resulted in over two million and five hundred thousand fatalities and destroyed several global and national systems.
“The response in Nigeria and the ECOWAS sub-region has been robust, collaborative, and united. It was driven by a collective knowledge of the fact that no country is safe until every country is safe.”
“The speedy development of the COVID-19 vaccines is quite significant and underscores the collective resolve of humanity to overcome the pandemic.
“Similarly, the collaborative effort to ensure equal access has brought relief to poor and developing countries,” the President added.
He echoed the assurance by the PTF that the AstraZeneca vaccine which Nigeria has accessed would arrive in batches, beginning with the almost four million doses already received.
President Buhari was hopeful that the rollout and administration plan of the government would cater to over 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population in 2021 and 2022.