By Sola Ogundipe
Nigeria has officially rolled out the Covid-19 vaccination with four frontline health workers receiving jabs of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine at the National Hospital, Abuja.
The vaccines were administered after undergoing final assessment by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, with positive results.
The first set of health care workers to receive the vaccine in Nigeria are Dr. Ngong Cyprian, Nurse Faith E. Eragbai, Dr. Nuru Joseph and Dr. Thairu Yunusa.
Flagging off the exercise, the Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and Secretary General to the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, described the event as a watershed.
“Nobody is safe until everyone is vaccinated. We must believe our government on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.”
“I salute the commitment of all health workers in saving and ensuring the protection of all Nigerians. This is a novel roll-out and the only authorised source is the Federal Government”.
Mustapha urged Nigerians not to patronise fraudsters who are out to defraud.
“We must understand that nobody is safe until everyone is vaccinated. We must believe our government on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines brought to Nigeria,” he noted.
The Minister of Health. Dr Osagie Ehanire, confirmed that NAFDAC had declared the vaccine doses safe for use on Nigerians.
He said: “The vaccination campaign we kick off today will be in four phases, and will align with the planned arrival of vaccines in batches. Each phase targets a specific segment of our eligible population, to ensure equity in vaccine deployment.”
“The vaccines (COVID-19) are our common assets and the responsibility is on every person to protect them and ensure proper use.
“I will like to emphasis that we are not out of the woods. Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel but we are still in the tunnel.”
According to the Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib: “It’s a momentous occasion today as we administer the first dose to one of our foremost frontline medical doctors in the fight against COVID-19.
“Defined frontline health workers are prioritized globally, for vaccination against COVID-19, due to their exposure to the risk infection with COVID-19 virus in the course of duty.”
On his own part, the Speaker, House of Reps. Femi Gbajabiamila, said: “We must not play politics with the health of our neighbour. We have to be mindful of the person that has not been vaccinated… you need to protect your neighbours.”
“This is a time for everyone to rally round the government. The vaccines being introduced in Nigeria are safe and effective”.