From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The National Coordinator of Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, has said that 40 million Nigerians will get the COVID-19 vaccine free from the GAVI arrangement, which allocates to 20 percent of the nation’s population.
Aliyu said this on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, monitored in Abuja.
According to him, the government has made adequate plans on delivering and administering the vaccine, assuring that the 20 percent allocation to Nigeria will be administered free.
“Yesterday (Tuesday), the President gave the PTF the mandate to proceed with preparations with regard to the vaccine. The President has also given us a marching order that the COVID-19 vaccine be made available in Nigeria.
“The COVID-19 vaccine will be available in Nigeria making use of the GAVI arrangement. We already have the assurance that we will have 20 percent of our population accommodated by GAVI, which is about 40 million Nigerians. They won’t need to pay for that (the vaccine),” Aliyu said.
While admitting the fears that Nigerians may be reluctant to receive shots of the vaccines, he assured that efforts are being made to embark on sensitization campaign and deliver the vaccines across the country.
Aliyu said, “We have continued to work with the Federal Ministry of Health and Primary Healthcare Development Agency. The NPHCDA has a lot of experience in delivering vaccines across the country. They were involved with the polio vaccination and even at the moment, they are responsible for the delivery of the growth in child vaccination across the country, so they have a lot of experience.
“A lot of work is going on behind the scene. The NPHCDA has a committee, the Minister has set up an advisory committee and the PTF is now coming in to make sure we coordinate effectively.
“The biggest challenge we will have with the vaccine is not going to be the logistics, the biggest challenge will be the public acceptance of the safety of the vaccines and allowing themselves to be vaccinated, the challenge will be very similar to the one we have with polio.”