About six months after Nigeria commenced the vaccination of its citizens against the rampaging coronavirus, more than 1.6 million eligible persons have been fully vaccinated.
The Executive-Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this at a briefing by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on Monday.
Mr Shuaib said 1,692,315 persons have received two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines, as approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
He also said as of Monday evening, 4,052,756 eligible Nigerians have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines.
“This is made up of 2,645,020 persons with the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and 1,407,736 persons with first dose of moderna vaccine.
“A total of 1,692,315 eligible persons are fully vaccinated and we currently have a national average of 70.4 per cent utilisation of the 2,000,040 doses of Moderna vaccines we received,” Mr Shuaib said
Vaccination across states
Mr Shuaib said states have been guided not to exceed their 50 per cent utilisation rates for Moderna vaccines in order to reserve the second doses for all those already vaccinated.
He noted that most states have reached this percentage and priority is now focused on administering AstraZeneca vaccine as first dose vaccine in all states across the country.
He urged states yet to publish their vaccination sites to do so across the various media platforms – newspapers, radio, TV, and social media, to enable people locate their nearest vaccination sites.
“The list of vaccination sites across the country is also available on the NPHCDA website www.nphcda.gov.ng Eligible persons who are unable to register by themselves can go to any designated health facility where he/she will be assisted by our vaccination team,” he said.
He explained that state governments have the responsibility to protect the vaccines and vaccination cards sent to them.
Mr Shuaib said states found to be condoning any acts of corruption in the process of vaccination will no longer be allocated vaccines.
“We have received reports of people trying to procure cards from health workers, these reports are being investigated and anyone found wanting would be prosecuted.
“It is important to emphasise that it is in the interest of public safety and collective well-being of Nigerians that the Federal Government has made available these vaccines free for all eligible persons,” he said.
He reiterated that the government will continue to work with partners to ensure delivery of safe and efficacious COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s vaccination journey
Nigeria had commenced COVID-19 vaccination on March 5, 2021, having received approximately four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX, an initiative aimed at ensuring equitable distribution of vaccines globally.
The country recently flagged off the second phase of the vaccination campaign having received another 4 million doses of Moderna vaccines from the government of the United States of America.
The country also received another 177,600 doses of Johnson and Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines from the African Union (AU).
On August 17, Nigeria also took delivery of 699,760 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines from the UK government.
Before the commencement of COVID-19 vaccination, the government had set an ambitious goal of vaccinating 40 per cent of its over 200 million population before the end of 2021, and 70 per cent by the end of 2022.
This, it said, will ensure the country achieves herd immunity against the COVID-19 virus.
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But six months after it commenced vaccination, only a little over 1.6 million persons have been fully vaccinated indicating that the country may miss its target.
A professor in the Department of Community Health, Primary Care, College of Medicine, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akin Osibogun, recently said Nigeria needs an average of N693 billion to achieve herd immunity against the ravaging coronavirus.
Mr Osibogun said the estimated fund will be enough to vaccinate about 140 million Nigerians with two doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines, which will create a herd immunity for Nigeria’s estimated 206 million population.