With the rollout of the Covid vaccine by leading pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Moderna, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has said Nigerians may be reluctant to receive shots of the vaccines.
Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, had recently said Nigeria is expected to take delivery of Covid vaccines by January 2021.
Speaking on Wednesday, PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, said about 40 million Nigerians would be vaccinated when the country receives the first batch of vaccines.
He, however, said like the challenge faced during polio vaccinations, many Nigerians would hesitate to take Covid vaccine shots.
He said the Federal Government was working on modalities to ensure efficient storage and transportation for the Covid vaccines.
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.”
Aliyu, who also said vaccines alone won’t help Nigerians out of Covid, advised Nigerians to observe all preventive measures including the use of face masks, maintaining social distancing, regular handwashing, amongst others.