President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have both been administered with the COVID-19 vaccine.
President Buhari was vaccinated by Dr. Suhayb Sanusi, his personal physician, at about 11.51 am at a ceremony witnessed by top government officials at the New Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Saturday.
Osinbajo was subsequently vaccinated by his personal physician, Dr. Nicholas Audifferen, at about 11.57am.
Both the president and vice president were inoculated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine provided by COVAX, an initiative set up by the United Nations and other development partners to help low and middle-income countries get access to the vaccine.
They were later presented with electronic cards containing the details of their vaccinations by the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib.
Speaking after being inoculated, President Buhari said the vaccine offered hope for a safe country.
He called on state governments as well as traditional and religious leaders to mobilise their people to embrace vaccination.
He said: “I urge all state governments, traditional and religious leaders, to take the lead in the mobilisation effort within their environment and spheres of influence. The vaccine offers hope for a safe country, free of coronavirus.
“I similarly urge all eligible Nigerians to present themselves and be vaccinated in accordance with the order of priority already mapped out at the various authorised designated centres only.”
President Buhari congratulated the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on the successful multi-sectoral approach to the management of the pandemic.
He stated that the PTF has assured him that the COVID-19 vaccine will be accessed by all Nigerians.
He said: “The response in Nigeria and the ECOWAS sub-region has been robust, collaborative, and united. It was driven by a collective knowledge of the fact that ‘no country is safe until every country is safe’.
“The speedy development of the COVID-19 vaccines is quite significant and underscores the collective resolve of humanity to overcome the pandemic. Similarly, the collaborative effort to ensure equal access has brought relief to poor and developing countries.
“I have been assured by the Presidential Task Force that the AstraZeneca vaccine which Nigeria has accessed, will arrive in batches beginning with the first batch of about four million doses already received. I am similarly aware of the rollout and administration plan to cater for over seventy per cent of our population between the years 2021 and 2022.
“Yesterday, our frontline medical personnel, top on the priority list, were vaccinated. Today, as a demonstration of leadership and faith in the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, I have received my first jab, and I wish to recommend it to all eligible Nigerians, to do the same so that we can be protected from the virus.”
Present at the ceremony were members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu.
The vaccination took place a day after Nigeria formally commenced the exercise following the delivery of 3.94 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine by COVAX.
A medical doctor, Cyprian Ngong, made history as the first person to receive the vaccine in Nigeria, while three other frontline health workers – Dr Nuru Joseph, Dr Thairu Yunusa, and Nurse Faith Eragbai – were also vaccinated.