The PTF has said that the apathy to COVID-19 vaccination may only exist on social media, as it has had to deal with large demands from people wanting to get vaccinated.
Stating that over 8,000 Nigerians have been vaccinated so far, it urged people to be patient for their turn to be vaccinated, as only frontline health workers, first responders, essential workers and strategic leaders are being prioritised for this first phase of vaccination.
Shuaib said: “Again, to underscore the confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, as part of the vaccine launch in the states that occurred last week, over 8,000 Nigerians have been administered the vaccine thus far.
“Our challenge with vaccine rollout is that a lot of people want to get the vaccine even when they do not qualify for the first phase of vaccination. We are finding it hard to march that with the fact that there is a lot of vaccine hesitancy on social media.
“Maybe there is a different kind of people that are on social media and a different set of people who are really calling and they want to take vaccines. So, we have had to take the pain to say this is a phased approach.
“People should note that the current vaccinations are for health workers, first responders and strategic leaders. Others will be scheduled according to when they are eligible. We, therefore, urge everyone to be patient for their turn to get vaccinated. Even when you are unable to register online, you will be registered when you get to the site of the vaccination when it is your turn to get vaccinated.”
Also, despite growing global concerns over possible side effects of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the Federal Government yesterday evening maintained it is safe for Nigerians.
National Incident Manager of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Dr. Mukhtar Muhammad, while speaking during the weekly briefing of the task force in Abuja, said clinical trials had shown that side effects are generally mild.
According to Muhammad, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had in the last three days, through series of briefings, vouched for the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, adding that it had been proven that it has about 70% efficacy level.
He, however, advised those who might have received the vaccine, but who have felt symptoms of its reactions for about 24 hours, to report it through the right channels at the state level.