The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has said that Nigerians’ reluctance to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots could be the biggest challenge facing them in combating the global pandemic.
It should be noted that recently, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said that Nigeria is supposed to receive Covid vaccines by January 2021.
While speaking on Wednesday’s Channels Television program, PTF Coordinator Dr Sani Aliyu said about 40 million Nigerians will be vaccinated when the nation receives the first batch of vaccines.
He, however, said many Nigerians would refuse to take Covid-19 vaccine shots, like the problem faced during polio vaccinations.
The Federal Government has been working on modalities to ensure effective storage and transport of the Covid vaccines, according to Aliyu.
He said: “We have continued to work with the Federal Ministry of Health and Primary Healthcare Development Agency. The NPHCDA has a lot of ideas for delivering vaccines across the country. They were involved with the polio vaccination and even at the moment, they are responsible for the delivery of the growth in child vaccination across the country, so they have a lot of experience.
“What is particularly challenging with some of these vaccines has to do with storage where you have to store them at -70 degrees and transport them around the country before you are able to use them.
“A lot of work is going on behind the scene. The NPHCDA has a committee, the minister has set up an advisory committee and the PTF is now coming in to make sure we coordinate effectively.
“The biggest challenge we will have with the vaccine is not going to be the logistics, the biggest challenge will be the public acceptance of the safety of the vaccines and allowing themselves to be vaccinated, the challenge will be very similar to the one we have with polio.”
The PTF coordinator however said that vaccines alone won’t help Nigerians out of Covid, advising Nigerians to observe all preventive measures including the use of face masks, maintaining social distancing, regular handwashing, amongst others.