January 25, (THEWILL) – The Federal Government has disclosed plans to integrate the mass COVID-19 campaign with childhood immunisation and other Primary Health Care (PHC) services.
It said this is to ensure that while the government is trying so hard to control the transmission of COVID-19, it does not neglect other PHC services or even have outbreaks of childhood vaccine-preventable diseases at hand.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, at the media briefing on the Progress of COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria, on Tuesday, said that alongside the COVID-19 vaccines, childhood vaccines will also be available at COVID-19 vaccination sites
Faisal, therefore, urged parents or guardians with children aged zero to 23 months to take them along to the vaccination sites as he maintained that the childhood vaccines protect infants against polio, whooping cough, measles, yellow fever, tetanus, tuberculosis, and other childhood preventable diseases.
“We urge you to please tell your colleagues, friends and loved ones to go to the vaccination sites or health centres nearest to them with their zero to 23 months old children for vaccination against COVID-19 and childhood vaccine-preventable diseases.
“We call on Nigerians to avail themselves of the opportunity in the ongoing mass vaccination exercise to get vaccinated against COVID-19″, he said.
Shuaib further disclosed that as of Tuesday, January 25, 2022, records shows that 14,093,873 eligible persons have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria while 5,252,406 eligible Nigerians have been fully vaccinated.
“However, as one would expect, these results are not evenly distributed across the states of the Federation. Our deep dive into state performances reveals that Nasarawa, Jigawa, FCT, Ogun and Kwara have remained the top 5 performing states on COVID-19 vaccine uptake.
“It is noteworthy to mention that Jigawa and Lagos have each vaccinated about 1.5million eligible Nigerians with the first dose, while FCT, Nasarawa, Lagos and Delta are leading on second dose administration with more than 10% of eligible populations in each of the states already vaccinated.
“It is in our spirit of transparency and accountability that we consider it important to keep Nigerians informed about the progress of COVID-19 vaccination in the states.
“We also believe that this information will serve as an encouragement for the states in the vaccine uptake, going forward”, he said.
Shuaib also seeks State Governors supports particularly those on low performance, prayed that Governors should charge them with the responsibility of ensuring that the populace within their constituencies are duly vaccinated.
“The Governor should charge the LGA Chairmen and health teams to develop daily, weekly and monthly Covid-19 and Childhood vaccination targets based on the total eligible populations.
“The Governor can meet with the LGA Chairmen and health teams on a weekly basis, to review the results of the campaigns and confirm if these targets are being met. This can also be an agenda on the weekly State Executive Council meetings.
“The Governor can apply accountability mechanisms to the vaccination process by publically rewarding LGA teams that perform the highest and sanctions teams that do not meet the minimum requirements despite the support.
“This can be done in a fortnightly ceremony, where the Governor shakes the best performers and issue certificates or plaques of excellence.
“We understand the challenges of undue vaccine hesitancy in the country, we strongly believe that a more committed approach to implementing mass vaccination will lead to improved vaccine uptake.
“This is why our current vaccination phase emphasises state supervision support to ramp up vaccine uptake especially in low performing states.
“We want to acknowledge the strong leadership displayed by many Governors in ensuring that their citizens are vaccinated and encourage them to do even more, so we can further improve our vaccination coverage.
“Last year, the daily COVID-19 vaccination coverage was about 100,000 people per day. Between December 2021 and January 2022, we have more than doubled this vaccination rate to over 200,000 per day.
“With the talents and capabilities of Nigerians, I know we can do better and we must improve to protect all Nigerians.
“It is pertinent to reiterate the fact that till date, Nigeria has not recorded any death arising from COVID-19 vaccination. This should further serve to convince everyone that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.
“Let me, therefore, remind all Nigerians, that the second and booster doses are critical to achieving high protection against the virus especially as it keeps mutating.
“Nigeria introduced booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine on the 10th of December 2021, following the recommendation by WHO for people who have received two doses of AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer Bio-N-Tech or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
“In line with his exemplary leadership style, President Muhammadu Buhari received his booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday the 21st of December 2021. So far, 416,980 Nigerians have received their booster dose. This is a clear indication that many more Nigerians are determined to achieve maximum protection against COVID-19.
“Our Joint Task Force on COVID-19 vaccine monitoring and accountability is still very active and vigilant. The Federal Government is on alert for any report of card vending and other unlawful activities on COVID-19 vaccination. Therefore, we urge everyone to remain law-abiding and compliant with recommended safety measures on COVID-19.
“It is our hope that the year 2022 represents the exit and recovery of Nigeria and the rest of the world from COVID-19.”