The Nigerian government has said states that have yet to meet the criteria for vaccine safety won’t get a share of the about four million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines brought into the country.
Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this at a State House briefing in Abuja on Thursday.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, will receive shots of the vaccines on Saturday to dissipate vaccine hesitancy amongst Nigerians.
Shuaib said, “After we are able to get our strategic leaders to publicly demonstrate that these vaccines are safe, the plan is to now go to the state level to start the launch at the treatment centres of the states and also get strategic leaders such as governors to publicly take the vaccines.
“By the time all of these happen, we will have finished all of the necessary preparations, we will have created a dashboard that will track very carefully the status of the preparedness of the states.
“We will not be sending vaccines to the states that have not fulfilled all of the criteria that will ensure that if the vaccines get to the states, they are going to be safe.
“For example, we have communicated to the states that they have to wrap up their security around their cold stores because these are very valuable vaccines and we do not want a situation where vaccines are taken to the states and criminal elements take advantage to vandalise these cold stores.
“We are also aware that during the #EndSARS vandalisation, there were some cold stores that actually suffered. I know that the state governors are trying to fix those but we have to verify that those are ready to receive our vaccines.
“We are working with the sub-national level; we are in conversation with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to see how Nigerians can rapidly get their vaccines. It is very critical that we roll out rapidly so that we can cut into any kind of mutation that can lead to the development of resistance against our vaccines.”
The NPHCDA boss also enjoined Nigerians who wish to receive the vaccines to register on the website of the agency.