It has been revealed that many Nigerian governors will be given COVID-19 vaccine on live television in order to encourage Nigerians to accept the vaccine.
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, who addressed journalists in Abuja after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said he and his colleagues had accepted to do so.
“Absolutely,” Mr Fayemi answered when asked if governors will also take the vaccines on live television. “We too will like to demonstrate to our citizens that we believe that vaccines would work.”
“Don’t forget, we have a lot of experience on this. Governors Forum managed the polio vaccines administration in the country and we have garnered a lot of experience,” said Mr Fayemi, the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported plans by the government to get President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to take the vaccines on live television when it finally gets to the country.
Amidst the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and new COVID-19 variants ravaging some parts of the world, many countries are already on the queue to access effective vaccines for its citizens.
Nigeria is expecting its first 100,000 doses of Pfizer and bioNtech vaccines at the end of this month, according to the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib.
The country is also expecting ‘free’ 42 million doses of vaccines in the second phase through the COVAX facility, an initiative run by the vaccine alliance, GAVI, to ensure equitable access to a COVID vaccine.
The Nigerian government has also inaugurated an 18-member national COVID-19 task team to ensure ‘vaccine security’ on arrival.
However, there are fears that many may not accept the vaccine due to doubt of safety, religious beliefs amongst other factors.
To encourage Americans to receive shots of their own when they could U.S President-elect, Joe Biden, in December 2020, received a COVID-19 vaccine on live television.
Also, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was vaccinated against the COVID-19 on live television on Saturday, becoming the first Israeli and one of the world’s leaders to be inoculated.
Mr Fayemi said the motive behind getting the vaccine administered on live television is to reassure the general public that the vaccine is safe.
He said the number one priority in vaccine management relates to public health and risk communication.
He commended the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for its plans to use prominent Nigerians as publicity vehicles for reassuring the public of the safety of the vaccines.
He noted that state leaders are working hard to prevent cultural and religious factors that may discourage people from getting administered.
“But the good thing is, Mr President has agreed with me that he would convey to the PTF the necessity of using other influencers, maybe the Chief Imams, the Bishops, top musicians, our sports personalities,” Mr Fayemi said.
“Because the more of such people are seen taking the vaccines the more the likelihood of resistance will break down in our various localities.”
Mr Fayemi also explained the need for Nigeria to ramp up local manufacturing of vaccines to prevent dependance on other countries.
“It’s okay that COVAX that Nigeria is part of is going to be delivering some vaccines to us. But, there is nothing as good as having the ability to manufacture our vaccines locally,” he said.