From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Executive Director/CEO of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, has disclosed that as of 26th September, 4,734,769 eligible people in Nigeria have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Breaking down the number, Dr Shuaib said it comprises 3,040,000 who have been vaccinated with the first dose of AstraZeneca, 1,694,769 with the first dose of Moderna. This he said represents 4.2% of the 111,776,503 eligible populations who are targeted to receive full doses of the vaccines for Nigeria to reach herd immunity. Out of the total vaccinated, 1,892,092 eligible persons have received their second dose of which 1,825,739 have been fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca while 66,353 eligible persons have been fully vaccinated with Moderna.
Dr Shuaib applauded the British High Commission, Abuja for the press statement which clearly states that the vaccines administered in Nigeria are recognised and approved by their regulatory body.
According to him, ‘they also clarified that come October 4th, 2021, they would be simplifying their classification process to ‘red list’ and ‘rest of the World’. Nigeria would be moving from ‘Amber’ to the ‘rest of the World’ list. This indicates that the ongoing vaccination exercise in Nigeria is widely recognised. Please let us not let carriers of misinformation and disinformation prevent us from taking the decision to protect ourselves, our family and our loved ones. For those of us who have been vaccinated, it is our responsibility to ensure that our loved ones, friends and community are also protected from this virus by encouraging them to get vaccinated.’
Dr Shuaib said it is important to point out that a lot more work needs to be done for the country to reach its target goal of vaccinating at least 70% of the eligible population of 111,776,503, not only in terms of provision of vaccines but more importantly, in terms of mobilising our friends, families and communities to get vaccinated.
‘At this stage, I do not think anyone should be left with doubt as to whether vaccination is the best way out of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Europe, America, Asia, and Oceania, it is through this vaccination that COVID-19 is being controlled, and the vaccines being used are the same all over the world. Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind. We must understand the urgency of the need to control COVID-19 if we really want to fully recover from its social and economic impacts.
‘As earlier conveyed during the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out, we plan to gradually involve the private sector as sites for COVID-19 vaccination. We would be doing it systematically and in phases, while ensuring vaccine supply and utilisation are carefully supervised and monitored to mitigate against sharp practices. Expanding to the private sector help to further increase access to vaccines.
‘On the issue of vaccine card racketeering, let me reiterate my earlier warning to unscrupulous elements in our society attempting to fraudulently acquire COVID-19 cards without receiving the vaccine. Buying and selling COVID-19 vaccines and cards is a criminal offence in Nigeria. The Federal Government of Nigeria has provided these vaccines free of charge to all eligible persons. The officer in charge of every designated health facility would be held accountable for every vaccination card and QR code. “These must match the quantities of vaccines and devices provided. Supervisors and the newly established joint task force (JTF) would be examining the records on health facilities to ensure consistency in inventories. States will be supported to strengthen their monitoring mechanism as well. I, therefore, urge all Nigerians to report anyone who tries to buy or sell the vaccination cards through any of the following: COVID-19 hotline: 07002201122, NPHCDA website: www.nphcda.gov.ng/complaints or the nearest police station or law enforcement agency.
‘Our corporate vaccination is still active and available for all organisations including media organisations. We, therefore, look forward to you inviting us to vaccinate the staff of your organisation. Also, your village and town associations are eligible to benefit.
‘Let us continue to observe all non-pharmaceutical prevention measures as we work towards achieving herd immunity,’ he said.
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