The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, on Thursday said the President; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; and other prominent Nigerians will be among the first set to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on live television to help drive awareness.
Shuaib spoke at a press briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.
He said, “On Tuesday, I had mentioned that we will like to see a situation where Mr President, the Vice President, the SGF, critical leaders come and take the vaccine in full glare of the public to demonstrate that this vaccine is safe.
“So, we have to make provisions for those. But even in developed countries, what we have seen is that apart from the prioritisation of health workers, you have to also identify critical leaders that you don’t want them to be wiped off by the virus.
“For example, in warfare, if you want to destroy your enemies, you look for specific leaders: captains, the generals, once you decapitate them, then the soldiers will become weak.
“So, as much as possible you do not want to also leave your leaders vulnerable to COVID-19. It doesn’t mean you want to prioritise politicians, that is not correct. I emphasised during the last briefing that we will prioritise our health workers because they are the ones in direct contacts with cases in isolation units.”
Shuaib said experience had shown that vaccines are always better than health immunity. He said for COVID-19, it would take approximately 10 years for one to be able to achieve health immunity and many people would have died if health immunity is to be relied upon.
He added, “The Swiss tried health immunity and I am sure if you go through the information that is available, for a lot of people, health immunity just doesn’t work. The Americans touted it and see what is happening in the US.
“Health immunity is not the way to go. The evidence is there that when you use vaccines, you are more likely to quickly to attain health immunity, protect more people.
“So, I will like to reiterate that you must not give way to conspiracy theories. We must try to manage the information around the vaccines, where people do not understand please reach out to us those who are scientists, public health experts. All of us here are Nigerians who take the issue of the safety of Nigerians seriously.” Punch