Consider involving religious leaders and musicians in the vaccination.
President Muhammadu Buhari met on Friday with the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi on the need for local production of coronavirus vaccines.
This is because President Buhari has expressed his willingness to involve bishops, imams-in-chief, prominent musicians, sports personalities, among others, in COVID-19 vaccination to remove the doubts of many Nigerians who may harbor negative views on the vaccine.
The NGF President and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Fayemi, revealed this after meeting with the President at the Presidential Village, Abuja.
Reporting to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, the head of the NGF said that the issue of the worsening security situation in the country was also discussed and that the president assured that there will be a notable improvement in the security this year.
He said he was in the House of Representatives for the usual routine meeting with the President, adding that being the meeting the first of the year, a series of topics that were of interest to the governors were reviewed such as security, economy, management of vaccinations and the general outlook for 2021.
When asked what they discussed about vaccine management, he said, “Well, for us as governors, the number one priority in vaccine management relates to public health and risk communication.
“I congratulated the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for at least wanting to use Mr. President and Vice President as publicity vehicles to reassure those who may have doubts about the use of vaccines, this is not a threat to them.
“You know that there are cultural and religious concerns in various places and we are at the state level, we are reviewing it with all our colleagues.
“But the good thing is that the president has agreed with me that he would convey to the PTF the need to use other influencers, perhaps the chiefs of the magnets, the bishops, the best musicians, our sports personalities because, how many The more people like this, seen taking the vaccines, the greater the probability that resistance will be broken in our various localities. So, we discussed it.
“Of course, we also discuss the purchase of vaccines. Our point of view is that ultimately we really need to increase vaccine manufacturing locally. It’s okay that COVAX, of which Nigeria is a part, is delivering us some vaccines. As we understand it, the first 100,000 and then 43 million and finally 165 million doses.
“But there is nothing as good as having the ability to manufacture our own vaccines locally. And we understand that there is a partnership with May & Baker, which is important for the Federal Government to really accelerate, so that we can produce the vaccines here in Nigeria and not depend on what comes from elsewhere. “
When asked to explain what he meant by saying that the federal government should accelerate the issue of vaccination, Dr. Fayemi said, “Well, the federal government is already part of the WHO-GAVI Alliance-COVAX partnership and by What we understand from PTF, vaccines will come from that alliance, something from Pfizer in the first instance and then maybe from other vaccine producers later.
“But there is still no clarity on when these vaccines will arrive in Nigeria. So, one of the issues raised by the President is the need to speed up the delivery of vaccines to the country, so that it is available to our people.
“Those of us who are on the receiving end in the states know that this is an issue that we also need to increase our own preparedness, in terms of preparing our states for vaccine storage, particularly freezers and chains of cold that will be necessary for that process.
“We need to prepare at the state level. The federal government can make acquisitions, but we will receive and administer in our various states and there is much work to be done in this regard. “
Raising the question of whether the governors will also bring the vaccines on live television, he said that the governors would take the initiative to give people confidence.
He said, “Absolutely. We too would like to show our citizens that we believe vaccines would work. Don’t forget, we have a lot of experience in this. The Governors Forum managed the administration of polio vaccines in the country and we have accumulated a lot of experience.
“We have worked with the Primary Health Care Development Agency, the Federal Ministry of Health and we will be delighted to work with NCDC, PTF, the Primary Health Care Development Agency on this as well. Therefore, we would also take the lead in our various states. “
On whether states will contribute money to buy the vaccines, the NGF president responded: “Good question. The details of financial management, of course, is something that would be of interest to all states. But we also know that there are a variety of approaches to take, the health approach is there.
“Because, for us at the Governors’ Forum, it is not only a health problem, it is also a security problem and it is also an economic problem. We would work in partnership, we are involved with PTF, we have a representation in PTF and we will work with them in general in them. “
When asked what Nigerians should expect after meeting with the president on the security situation, he said he would not elaborate on his discussion with the president on the matter.
He said, “Obviously, you know that I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of what Mr. President told me about security. But he clearly said that aid is on the way. Mr. President is very determined that this year we will see a rapid reduction in the free access that bandits, kidnappers, criminals have had in the country, I think there is a wide range of strategies that he is implementing to address that.
“I have also expressed the Governors’ commitment to step up, both in terms of supporting our security agencies and raising awareness among our population and addressing the root causes of some of these crimes in our states.
“So, it is an association. He is our commander-in-chief, we are his field commanders, and insecurity is collectively ravaging the land. So we all have to do everything possible to reduce it and work in collaboration with the Federal Government ”.