President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo Saturday in Abuja received the first doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
The president and the vice president got the jab live on TV, a day after the COVID-19 national vaccine programme commenced with the vaccination of healthcare and frontline workers at the National Hospital, Abuja.
The duo received the first shots of the vaccine at the New Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja in the presence of members of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, senior government officials and journalists.
The Personal Physician to the President, Dr Sanusi Raafindadi, administered the vaccine to him while that of the Vice President’ was done by his Personal Physician, Dr Nicholas Audifferen.
Speaking after the vaccine was administered to him, the president described his decision to take the vaccine in public as ‘‘a demonstration of leadership and faith in the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.”
‘‘I have received my first jab and I wish to commend it to all eligible Nigerians, to do same so that we can be protected from the virus,’’ he said.
He urged all state governments, traditional and religious leaders, to take the lead in the mobilization effort within their environment and spheres of influence.
‘‘The vaccine offers hope for a safe country, free of Coronavirus. I similarly urge all eligible Nigerians to present themselves and be vaccinated in accordance with the order of priority already mapped out, at the various authorized designated centres ONLY,’’ he said.
The president congratulated the PTF on COVID-19 on the successful multi-sectoral approach to the management of the pandemic.
He also acknowledged and commended the support of Governments, donors, development partners, the private sector, traditional and religious leaders as well as critical stakeholders who have supported Nigeria’s response to the pandemic, assuring that all the resources would be equitably administered.
He said since the beginning of the year 2020, humanity had remained under the burden of COVID-19 pandemic, an unseen but very potent enemy around the world.
‘‘Infection from the virus has resulted in over two million and five hundred thousand fatalities and destroyed several global and national systems.
‘‘The response in Nigeria and the ECOWAS sub-region has been robust, collaborative and united. It was driven by a collective knowledge of the fact that ‘no country is safe until every country is safe.’
‘‘The speedy development of the COVID-19 vaccines is quite significant and underscores the collective resolve of humanity to overcome the pandemic.
‘‘Similarly, the collaborative effort to ensure equal access has brought relief to poor and developing countries,’’ he said.
He spoke of the assurance by the PTF that the AstraZeneca vaccine which Nigeria has accessed would arrive in batches beginning with the four million doses already received.
He said the roll out and administration plan would cater for over seventy percent of Nigeria’s population in 2021 and 2022.