In line with it’s goal to achieve herd immunity by vaccinating atleast 70% of its eligible population against Covid-19, Nigeria has commenced the second phase of Covid-19 vaccinations.
The flag off ceremony which held in Federal Medical Centre Abuja today was well attended by representatives of the government and stakeholders in the health sector.
TheFact Nigeria recalled that vaccination was paused due to exhaustion of the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccines earlier received from the COVAX facility.
In his keynote address, Mr. Boss Mustapha, Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee on Covid-19 commended Nigerians who had taken both doses of the vaccines during the first phase vaccine roll out.
He said that the government would sustain availability of the vaccines and do everything possible to minimise the surge of covid-19 infections in the country.
Speaking further, he urged Nigerians to minimise all non essential travels especially to countries that are showing rising number of cases and deaths from Covid-19.
“Restrictions are placed on travellers from Brazil, South Africa and Turkey to Nigeria in line with our guidelines. Individuals, transporters who flaunt the guidelines should be sanctioned.
“State governments are required to ensure all those returning from Brazil, South Africa and Turkey adhere to the mandatory 7days self isolation period, violators would be sanctioned”, he warned.
Dr. Ehanire Osagie, Minister of Health
thanked the United States Government and other covid-19 vaccine donors.
Speaking on the safety of the vaccines, he said the vaccines were safe and had been tested by NAFDAC and no loss of life has been recorded from it.
In his good will message, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, WHO Country Representative commended the government’s efforts so far, he said: “Partners are very happy with the Federal Government huge investment in the procurement and the installation of Ultra Cold Chain equipment at the national strategic store and the state cold stores.
“This is good sign of a committed government leadership at national and state level to have it citizens vaccinated against the disease”, he noted.
Dr. Chikwe Iheakwazu, Director General Nigeria Center for Disease Control commended the efforts of healthcare workers in ensuring the smooth sailing of the vaccination exercise and urged Nigerians to cooperate with them.
Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director General, National Agency for Food & Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) revealed that the agency had been working round the clock to ensure that the health of Nigerians was premium.
“NAFDAC is the only agency in the world that is using Track and Trace to monitor where every vaccine vial goes.
“Every vaccine that comes to Nigeria is tested by NAFDAC and certified to be safe”, said Prof. Adeyeye.
She also encouraged anyone who experienced side effects after vaccination to report it to the agency.
In his speech, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) disclosed that the agency had trained 40,739 state health workers and partners on the phase 2 strategic vaccine roll out plan.
Showing appreciation for the donations so far, he said: “I thank the Government of the United States for its magnanimity in donating 4,000,080 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which were received in-country on August 1st, 2021.
“This was followed last week with the arrival of 177,600 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine which is the first tranche of the almost 40 million doses the Federal Government has procured from the Africa-Export-Import (AFREXIM) Bank through the African Union.
“The balance of the vaccine will be delivered over the coming months. We sincerely appreciated the AFREXIM Bank President and his team for working tirelessly to ensure that the African countries were not short-changed in the access to the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines.
He disclosed that the United Kingdom government through the COVAX facility donated 698,880 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Nigeria.
These doses he said will be targeted at those due for their 2nd dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“In the next couple of weeks, we will be expecting up to 3.9million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines to complement what we already have and to ensure that we cover not only those who will be taking their 2nd AstraZeneca vaccine but also for those who will want to take their first dose of this vaccine.
He also hinted that the agency in collaboration with its partners have mapped out the best strategies in targeting different segments of the populations because of the differences in vulnerability, age, and geographical constraints.
Other speakers at the event include: Prof. Benedict Oramah President, Chairman of the Board of Directors The African Export-Import Bank, Dr. Adeleke Mamora, Minister of State for Health
To this end, Nigerians 18years and above are encouraged to come out enmasse and get vaccinated.