President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday received the booster dose of Pfizer Biontech vaccine as an addition to the initial two jabs he had taken earlier in the year, at the State House, Abuja.
Like the original two jabs, the booster shot was administered on the President by his Chief Personal Physician, Dr. Suhayb Rafindadi, after which his vaccination card was signed by the Director-General of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib.
Speaking on the significance of President Buhari receiving his booster vaccine shot, Shuaib said the president was leading by example, being one of the first to receive the booster shot, at the same time passing a message to Nigerians that the vaccines are safe and efficacious.
He, however, called on Nigerians still hesitant about taking the vaccines to go get vaccinated, pointing out that more than eight million Nigerians had been vaccinated successfully.
The NPHCDA boss, however, noted that new developments have shown that COVID-19 is fast becoming the disease of the unvaccinated, adding that the country has acquired enough vaccines to cater for eligible Nigerians.
He said: “The significance of the shot this morning is that the father of the nation is leading by example, as usual, he is among the first people that have taken the booster dose of the Pfizer Biontech vaccine. Again, to show, clearly, to all Nigerians that it is safe, it is efficacious, and now that over eight million Nigerians have been vaccinated, here is another proof that this vaccine is safe and it’s a clarion call to all Nigerians to make themselves available to get the vaccine.
“The evidence is there, over 8 million Nigerians have taken the vaccines safely. They are well, they are going about their normal businesses and what we’re seeing from the data is that COVID-19 is now mostly a disease of the unvaccinated.
“Out of every 10 people that have died, the data shows that eight of them are unvaccinated. So, there’s a greater likelihood of dying from COVID-19 if you’re unvaccinated.”
He added: “What Mr. President has done today is again to indicate to all Nigerians that federal government does everything to make sure that only safe and efficacious vaccines are brought into Nigeria, and that when they are brought into Nigeria, we’ll double check to make sure that it fits the very high standards that have been set by NAFDAC.
“So, when you go to any health facility, when you go to any mass vaccination site, one thing that should be clear in your mind is that this vaccine that is going into your body is safe and is going to protect you against severe forms of COVID-19. It will also protect you from dying from COVID-19. That is the assurance that we’re giving Nigerians.
“The other thing that we are also telling Nigerians is that when you take the vaccine, you may feel some pain at the site of the vaccination, you may feel a little bit feverish, you may feel a little bit of body pains, but these are all the indications that the vaccine is working. These are mild symptoms compared to the symptoms you will feel if you were to contract the actual COVID-19.
“This is part of the technology that pretends that this is COVID-19, but in actual fact, it makes your body raise up armies that will now defeat the actual virus.
“So, please stop hesitating, stop having any doubts. It is a question of integrity for us that we do the right thing and we are showing, through leadership from Mr. President, the governors, the legislators that have come out openly to take these vaccines, that these vaccines are exactly what we need to be able to protect our health and then begin to build back our economy.”
The DG, who noted that the booster shot gives a better chance against the Omicron variant of COVID-19, explained the procedure for receiving the jab.
According to him: “To get the booster shot, all you need to do is go to the nearest health facility or any vaccination center with your vaccination card and you will get the booster shots, we’re making the vaccines available all across the country. So, you don’t have to go too far from where you live or from where you work to get the booster doses.
“For example, if you’ve gotten the AstraZeneca vaccine, first and second doses, you have to wait six months after the second dose to get your Pfizer Biontech. If you actually got the Moderna vaccine, you also have to wait for six months before you get the second dose or get the booster dose. So, after the first dose of the Moderna, you get the second dose after four weeks, then after six months, you are now eligible to get the booster.
“If you got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as a single shot vaccine, then you are eligible for a booster after two months. So, these are the protocols that we’ve laid out there, and we’re encouraging Nigerians to go and get vaccinated with the booster shots because what evidence shows is that when you get the booster shot, you actually get better protection against the Omicron variant. We are all aware that the Omicron variance is globally being transmitted, especially with the holiday season, people are traveling.
“So, this is an opportunity for you to go to the nearest health facility or the nearest mass vaccination site, we now have mass vaccination sites, in markets, in shopping centers, in places that are densely populated; in some estates and in the workplace. You can go to any of these centers and get vaccinated.”