Nigeria@61: Don’t take COVID-19 lightly, adhere to preventive measures, Buhari tells Nigerians

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Angela Onwuzoo

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) on Friday urged Nigerians not to take the COVID-19 lightly, assuring that the pandemic can be controlled through a collective effort.

Buhari also urged Nigerians to adhere to public health and social measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection.

The President made the appeal in his nationwide broadcast to Nigerians to mark the nation’s 61st Independence.

Buhari also asked Nigerians to always put on their masks and get vaccinated.

He said, “We can control this pandemic, but it requires effort on everybody’s part. The investments we made in response to COVID-19 will also serve our country to tackle any future disease outbreaks or pandemics.

“Nigerians came together as one to fight against COVID-19. It is this attitude and by the special grace of God, we continue to survive the pandemic as a nation and indeed, provide leadership and example at regional and international levels.

“The doomsday scenario predicted for our country never came. Even as the Delta variant continues to spread, we have built the capacity we need to respond now and into the future.

“I will therefore appeal to Nigerians not to take COVID lightly, adhere to public health and social measures, put your mask on and get vaccinated.”

Buhari equally noted that despite the global inequity in access to vaccines, the Federal Government had continued to explore all available options to ensure Nigerians have free access to safe and effective vaccines.

According to him, about five million vaccine doses have already been administered to Nigerians through efforts led by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

“We will continue to explore options for purchase or acquisition of vaccines such as through COVAX and the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust.

“I will take this opportunity to remind the global community that the current state of access to COVID-19 vaccines is unacceptable. 

“We cannot afford a situation where a handful of countries keep the global vaccine supply to themselves at the expense of other nations,” the President said.

Buhari said the international community must act now to accelerate the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. 

The President noted, “This is the message I conveyed to the international community in New York last week.

“As we push to source vaccines for our immediate needs, we shall invest more to support our pharmaceutical and research agencies to come up with ideas for locally developed vaccines.”

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