As Nigeria records an upsurge in daily cases of coronavirus pandemic, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that governors, religious leaders and entertainers should be given the vaccine publicly.
Buhari gave the directive to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 as the country expects delivery of the vaccine in the next two weeks for the initial vaccination of about 71 million people.
Buhari on Friday, January 8, 2020, specifically said that he and his ministers, 36 governors, Imams, Bishops, Musicians, Sports Personalities would take the vaccines beaming on live television.
Mr Kayode Fayemi, the Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum and Ekiti governor, reported the directive after a meeting with President Buhari who also said security and economy managers would also be among the first to be given.
He said that Nigeria is already part of the WHO-GAVI Alliance-COVAX partnership and from that the vaccines will come from that alliance.
He said: “Some of it from will be product of Pfizer in the first instance and then maybe from other various producers of the vaccines later.’’
Fayemi reported that Buhari had also directed that the accelerated delivery of vaccines to Nigeria so that it will be available to our people.
Dr. Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), also reported that Nigeria intends to get 42 million COVID-19 vaccines to cover one fifth of its population through the global COVAX scheme.
The initial vaccines would come as part of Nigeria’s plan to inoculate 40 per cent of the population in 2021 and another 30 per cent in 2022 with 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine expected to arrive in the country by the end of January 2021.
Meanwhile, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on January 9, 2020 confirmed 1,544 new infections of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) with additional 12 coronavirus-related deaths.
Nigeria’s daily new infections accelerated to a record high of over 1,500 cases for the third time bringing the total to 97,478.
The NCDC said that the new infections were from 20 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Since the first case of coronavirus was reported in the country, 1,011,584 people have been tested of which 97,478 were tested positive.
The hope of vaccine delivery has encouraged the government to re-open schools with effect from January 18, 2020.
The National Universities Commission (NUC) has directed Vice Chancellors of universities to resume academic activities on January 18, 2021.
It explained that the instruction was given in line with the directive of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on the resumption of schools across the country.
NUC’s directive was contained in a statement signed by the Deputy Executive Secretary (Administration) of the commission, Mr Chris Maiyaki, on Friday.
He noted that the guidelines have been communicated on several occasions to university authorities through circulars from the commission.
The deputy executive secretary stated that on the resumption of academic activities, universities must under no circumstance violate the full cycle of the semester system, consistent with the Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) approved by the NUC, as well as other extant quality assurance standards and guidelines.
Secondary and primary schools are also to resume as directed.