President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) must wear nose mask in the public as a positive role model in the global campaign against spread of covid-19 in Nigeria.
This was the view of renowned Professor of Virology, Professor Oyewale Tomori during a virtual media gatekeepers’ sensitization meeting on Covid-19 introduction in Nigeria organised by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA).
Tomori’s advice was coming on the heels of the country’s preparedness to receive 100,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccines by end of January, to be administered on 50,000 frontline workers in two doses each, within three weeks.
The expected receipt of Pfizer’s 100,000 vaccines represents the first phase of the vaccination process which is expected to be in four phases between 2021 and 2022.
According to Tomori, since prevention is largely the antidote for curbing the spread of covid, Nigerians would have to embrace wearing the nose mask al;ways and the President need to lead by example.
Media stakeholders expressed concerns that a lot of followers of PMB like POTUS Trump, see the non adherence to wear nose mask as indicating, “it is the right thing to do”.
Stakeholders have noted that the President’s appearance in public without nose mask might have contributed to the poor acceptability of nose mask.
Tomori responded to a concern on the inability of the leadership of the Presidential Task Force to ensure the President wears a face mask in public as a way to send the right message to Nigerians.
But Prof. Tomori retorted, “We need the President to wear a mask and take the lead as a role model” in the fight against covid-19″.
Tomori noted that President Buhari is using his Presidential privilege by not wearing face mask to send wrong signals in the fight to prevent spread of covid-19 insisting, “we need our President to wear face mask” adding, “the consequence of an infection could be dire”.
He however enjoined Nigerians to protect themselves against covid-19 infection as every individual is responsible for their safety at the end of the day.
Professor Tomori warned that the numbers of persons recorded as positive to covid do not represent actual figure of the infected “because we are not testing enough in the country”
Speaking on the introduction of covid-10 vaccine in Nigeria, NPHCDA Director Disease Control and Immunisations, Dr. Bassey Okposen said Nigeria is introducing the covid-19 vaccine with the main objective of slowing down and interrupting transmission of the outbreak in all parts of the country.
He noted that a herd immunity that could equally slow don the spread of the disease might take up to 10 years to achieve given that by the population of the country, we would need between 70-80 herd immunity at a time.
According to Dr Okposen, “the vaccine that would be used in Nigeria to immunize our people would be safe and effective”.
He disclosed that the vaccines when received, would be introduced in the country in four phases due to the quantity and availability of the vaccines that would come into the country at every particular time.
“When the vaccines arrive, there is going to be periodization of the persons to be given the vaccination to optimize the available resources and vaccines that would be received based on global practices”
The first set of people to be vaccinated would be frontline health workers, immigration officers at the airports, Police and military on essential duties and field works, Laboratory workers and other priority workers.
These groups wuld then ne followed by the elderly, 50 years and above as most deaths occur in the group as well as those with co-morbid conditions such as Asthmatic, Diabetic and Hypertensives among others.
The director also disclosed that between 2021 and 2022, 70 percent of Nigerians have been prioritized for vaccination to slow down the cases and reduce mortality and morbidity from covid-19 pandemic.
In 2021, the target is to vaccinate about 84,655,749 people representing 40percent of Nigerians to be followed in 2022 by an additional 30percent representing about 65m Nigerians.
According to Bassey, “by the time we do this in 2021 and 2022, we should have been able to immunize about 70percent of Nigerians and with additional herd immunity from those that would have acquired infection, we should have been able to slow down the transmission in the country”, said Okposen