By our reporter| The federal government has urged Nigerians to get immunised against COVID-19 when the vaccines are available.
The coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, who gave advise while appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, 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.
Aliyu said, “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.”
“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 travellers 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.
He 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.
“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,” he said.
With additional report from Channels Television