The National Coordinator, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu says COVID-9 vaccines would only be given to a few people when it eventually becomes available.
Aliyu urged Nigerians not to jettison the COVID-19 preventive measures that have served the nation so well in past months because of their high hope in vaccines, stressing that not everyone can get the vaccines, especially in the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination.
Speaking in a live TV interview on Wednesday, the PTF coordinator stated that Nigerians must realise that there are challenges to COVID-19 vaccination.
“There are challenges which include how to maintain the ultra-cold chain needed as well the competition for vaccines.
“This is because a lot of the developed countries are busy buying off the vaccines,” he said.
Aliyu noted that the government is working with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and the Federal Ministry of Health to raise the needed funds to procure vaccines through the GAVI initiative where about 20 per cent of the population would be catered for.
“We would only give those vaccines to few people in phase one.
“Those who would get it are healthcare workers, the elderly and those with co-morbidities. So, not everyone will get the vaccines,” he said.
While urging Nigerians to continue to adhere to COVID-19 prevention protocols, Aliyu said citizens must not become careless because COVID-19 vaccines are on the way.
“Even if we start a vaccination campaign today, it will not change our situation over the next three months. So, we need to change our behaviour,” he said.
The PTF national coordinator reiterated that Nigeria may be heading towards another lockdown, except all citizens work together to halt the drift towards a full-blown COVID-19 second wave.
“I am afraid things are not looking good at the moment. The numbers are going up.
“There is no doubt that we are having an upward swing into a second surge of the pandemic.
“We strongly believe that the situation is driven by community transmission.
“This is because over the last few weeks, especially from late October to November, things have changed.
“What has changed is the frequency of parties, weddings and mass gatherings where people have completely thrown caution to the wind.
“At these gatherings, there are no facemasks, no physical distancing.
“It is as if people are daring COVID-19 to come and get them.
“We know what we are seeing in both Lagos and Abuja. Our treatment centres are fast filling up. People are playing Russian roulette with their lives and this has got to stop…
“If we continue with this sort of behaviour, the government will have to act.
“No responsible government will sit and not take action and then allow a pandemic to take over the country as people will die…
“So we really need to be responsible. People need to wear facemasks, especially in public and avoid the crowd at all times
“More importantly, if you have symptoms of cold, don’t go out into a crowd
“These are simple measures that will stop this virus from spreading,” Aliyu said.
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