Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday urged all "eligible Nigerians" to be vaccinated against coronavirus as soon as possible.
At a media event in Abuja, Buhari himself was earlier vaccinated using the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and provided through the global COVAX initiative.
"Yesterday, our frontline medical personnel, top on the priority list, were vaccinated. Today, as a demonstration of leadership and faith in the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, I have received my first jab and I wish to commend it to all eligible Nigerians, to do the same so that we can be protected from the virus. I urge all state governments, traditional and religious leaders, to take the lead in the mobilization effort within their environment and spheres of influence. The vaccine offers hope for a safe country, free of coronavirus. I similarly urge all eligible Nigerians to present themselves and be vaccinated in accordance with the order of priority already mapped out, at the various authorized designated centres only."
He then displayed his vaccination certificate for the cameras.
He praised the response of Nigeria and other West African states to the pandemic, describing it as "robust, collaborative and united."
The response in Nigeria and ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) sub-region has been robust, collaborative and united. It was driven by a collective knowledge of the fact that 'no country is safe until every country is safe'. The speedy development of the coronavirus vaccines is quite significant and underscores the collective resolve of humanity to overcome the pandemic. Similarly, the collaborative effort to ensure equal access has brought relief to poor and developing countries. I have been assured by the Presidential Task Force that the AstraZeneca vaccine which Nigeria has accessed, will arrive in batches beginning with the first batch of about four million doses already received."
While the COVAX initiative was created to ensure that low and middle-income countries receive COVID-19 vaccines, it has faced delays and limited supply.