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FG to increase vaccine acquisition drive, oxygen reserve capacity for COVID-19 third wave

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Buhari receiving the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the State House, Abuja. Photo/TWITTER/NGRPRESIDENT

The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 is to embark on increased vaccine acquisition drive, raise oxygen reserve capacity in the event of third wave and boost testing in the states.

This is even as members of the panel, yesterday, received their second round of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the weekend, received their jabs.

At a briefing in Abuja, the committee chairman and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, pointed out that Nigeria could not afford a third wave, hence the need to do everything to protect the nation.

He pledged that the country would keep monitoring unfolding events and deal with them as they come.

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The SGF recalled that some 12 weeks ago, the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) commenced the administration of the jabs nationwide, with about two million persons vaccinated, adding that the PSC had since intensified awareness to reduce vaccine hesitancy and encourage eligible Nigerians to take their second doses.

Mustapha said national response system had been on testing, detection, infrastructure enhancement and access to vaccines by the citizens besides enhancing surveillance at points of entry and enforcement of travel advisory and the 2021 Health Safety Regulations.

He observed that as Nigeria monitors developments globally, it would keep disseminating messages of compliance with extant protocols and vaccination.

The PSC chair said: “The philosophy is for us to keep out the virus as much as possible. India is still quite high in a number of cases and in the last week, the numbers in Africa experienced a spike, especially in South Africa.”

He appealed to Nigerians to sustain observance of all non-pharmaceutical interventions and ensure that friends, relations and associates arriving from countries of concern adhere to quarantine and post-arrival guidelines.

“Pursuant to the travel advisory issued, I wish to inform you that the PSC has initiated series of sanctions against those that have violated the 2021 Health Safety Regulations. To this end, the committee has published the names and particulars of over 200 violators that evaded the quarantine requirement. This is considered a serious infraction and the PSC will proceed to deactivate the passports of Nigerians involved, for a period of not less than one year, revoke the visas of foreigners that have abused our hospitality and prosecute the violators where necessary,” Mustapha stated.

He said for some times now, Nigeria has been discussing with the authorities of the United Arab Emirates on the resumption of flights, urging the Emirates to remove the country-specific and discriminatory practices against Nigeria.

“Discussions are ongoing and we can assure Nigerians that the outcome will be in the interest of the country,” Mustapha added.

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