The Federal Government of Nigeria has warned that vaccines alone cannot solve the problems posed by COVID-19 in the country.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, gave the warning on Monday in Abuja at the joint national briefing of the taskforce.
This is coming ahead of Tuesday’s arrival of the four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.
According to him, Saturday, 27 February 2021, marked a major milestone for the National Response to COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria as it marked the one-year anniversary of the index case in the country.
He said that, with the arrival of vaccines, the nation has entered the phase of the Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) plus vaccines phase of the National Response.
“This development offers a huge ray of hope that comes with its own challenges and responsibilities for all Nigerians. We must all be prepared to take responsibility.
“The development of vaccines is a ray of hope and a welcome development; vaccines alone cannot be a solution; accessing vaccines has been strategic and deliberate.
“Vaccines coming to Nigeria shall be safe and efficacious; the PTF is coordinating while the FMOH/NPHCDA are directly implementing, using existing infrastructure and skills set; and the required Vaccines Strategy Steering Committee has been set up by the Minister of Health,” Mustapha said.
He, however, said that the administration of the vaccines shall be prioritised in a strategic manner beginning with health sector ‘s frontline workers and strategic leadership.
Mustapha also said that in 2021 and 2022, the government aim to vaccinate 70 percent of the population.
He also noted that 12 months down the road, a lot had happened worldwide and particularly in Nigeria and that the statistics before 27 February 2020, stood at zero, while one year down the line, there has been 155,076 cases; 132,566 discharged; 1,485,103 tested; and 1902 deaths.
He said: “The last one year has revealed the strength of collaboration and the positive spirit of sacrifice and public service inherent in Nigerians.
“The unity of purpose demonstrated through the financial, material and technical support have been phenomenal.”
Mustapha said that at inception, the primary aim was to strengthen the health system to withstand this and other pandemics, slow down the spread and minimize the fatalities and that government has reasonably achieved these objectives and more.