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FG to administer COVID-19 vaccines free, targets 40m Nigerians

By News Desk

As part of the strategy to flatten coronavirus curve in Nigeria, the Federal Government has disclosed plans to administer vaccines on citizens free when vaccination exercise begins across the country.

The apex government added that the plans have been intensified to receive its first set of vaccines next year and that the vaccines to be received could be used for treatment of atleast 40 million Nigerians.

These assurance came hours after the central government announced that over N400 billion have been earmarked for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines to break community transmission chain of the virus.

Confirming plans to administer the vaccines free, the National Coordinator of Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday, disclosed that plans have been concluded to intensify the ongoing sensitization campaign on the virus.

Aliyu noted that the reason for aggressive orientation was that the vaccine was new and there were fears Nigerians may be reluctant to receive shots of the drugs when they possibly contract the disease.

“Yesterday, 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% of our population accommodated by GAVI, which is about 40 million Nigerians. They won’t need to pay for that (the vaccine).

“We have continued to work with the Federal Ministry of Health and Primary Healthcare Development Agency. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (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,” he added.

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