Health

FG Intensifies Technical Support To States For COVID-19 Vaccination

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has disclosed that it has intensified technical support to states to finalise their micro plans to further strengthen accountability in the utilisation and management of available resources and increase uptake in COVID-19 vaccine based on locally acceptable methods and standards

The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this in his remarks during the handing over of three million doses of Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Government of Italy to Nigeria on Monday in Abuja.

Shuaib further said Nigeria has an adequate quantity of COVID-19 vaccines across all states for every eligible person in Nigeria and to assure all Nigerians, donors, and partners, that the Agency is committed to equitable and effective COVID-19 vaccination.

“I, therefore, urge all persons aged 18 years and above including pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers to take advantage of the availability of these vaccines to get vaccinated. All COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria are free, safe, effective and protect you, your family and community against COVID-19.

“As of today the 11th of April 2022, we have fully vaccinated 13,588,718 persons which are approximately 12.2 per cent of our total eligible population. Meanwhile, 23,012,700 Nigerians have received their first dose which represents 18 per cent of the total eligible population.”

“To ensure we fully utilise the COVID-19 vaccination programme in strengthening the primary health care system by using routine immunisation as an entry point, our current strategic approach for delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, known as optimized SCALES 2.0 strategy, entails the integration of COVID-19 Vaccines with our current implementation.”

“This means that parents and caregivers with children or Wards aged zero to two years are encouraged to bring their children along to the COVID-19 vaccination site where childhood vaccines are available”.

“While the adult receives COVID-19 vaccines, the children are assessed for the antigen they are due for and vaccinated. Thus, making the vaccination exercise more family-friendly.

“We believe this will further motivate eligible persons, including pregnant and breastfeeding mothers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“I want to appreciate the Government of Italy for these donations which are in line with the global call for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

“It is also a reflection of the sincerity and commitment of the Government of Italy and European delegates to the global efforts in halting this pandemic for nations of the world to return to their normal way of life.

“These vaccines, like all other vaccines we have in-country will be judiciously utilised, as we have instituted accountability in the COVID-19 vaccination programme to ensure efficient use of all available resources.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Molumbo in goodwill message said the Johnson and Johnson vaccines has come at the right time after the re-launching of the optimised SCALES strategy on the 22nd February 2022 with the theme “One shot COVID-19 Vaccine for Everyone.”

Molumbo, therefore, maintained that the SCALES 2.0 aimed at providing an opportunity for the single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to be rolled out in the states.

“The donated vaccines will go a long way in boosting the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination in the country.”

“Available data shows that the introduction of the single-dose vaccine has provided the opportunity for more eligible persons are becoming fully vaccinated.”

“In addition, in order to ramp up COVID-19 vaccination in the country, the FGoN through NPHCDA and partners are supporting the states on deployment and validation of integrated micro plans”.

Molumbo also reiterated the commitment of WHO and partners that it will continue to lead and manage the COVAX pillar of ACT-Accelerator, providing end-to-end integrated support for the global vaccination targets:

“Out of the COVID-19 doses that have so far been received in the country, over 96 per cent have been received through the COVAX facility.

“I, therefore, take this opportunity to reiterate that WHO and partners will continue to provide support to the in country delivery of vaccination programmes.

The Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Stefano De Leo, stated that “Italy remains committed, along with other European Union members, to support Nigeria’s vaccine needs, with the aim to help to expand global vaccine coverage. Providing single-shot vaccines reduce logistical challenges and ensure a faster achievement of Nigeria’s Government vaccination goals.

Ambassador De Leo stressed the efficiency of working through multilateral platforms and highlighted the efforts of Team Europe, which has pledged to donate 700 million doses worldwide by mid-2022.

The Head of Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria, Ambassador Samuela Isopi, said, the EU’s action against COVID-19 does not stop at its borders.

“Since 2021, as Team Europe, the EU and its member states have given more than 20 million COVID-19 doses to Nigeria through COVAX. By acting together, guided by the principles of solidarity and multilateralism, we can collectively overcome COVID-19.

“Today’s donation is in furtherance of Team Europe’s contribution towards a resilient and healthy population because we understand that health is central to the development of any country.

“The European Union and its Member States have made COVID-19 vaccine dose-sharing one of their priorities to ensure worldwide equitable access to safe and efficient vaccines”.

“A key step in this journey was the Global Health Summit convened in Rome by the Prime Minister of Italy Mario Draghi and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on 21 May 2021.

“This very first G20 summit on health marked the beginning of a new chapter in global health policy. Overall, under the Italian presidency, the G20 members committed to accelerate the vaccination campaign globally to reach 70% of the world population by mid-2022.

“The EU and its Member States are so far the biggest donors of COVID-19 vaccines in the world, having shared over 500 million doses for donation to countries around the world, via COVAX and bilaterally.

“Italy has pledged USD 470 million to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC) and has provided additional specific funding and doses to priority countries.

Over 3 million single-shot vaccines donated to Nigeria by Italy have arrived in the country.

This added to the 17 million vaccines (doses) earlier sent by other EU Member States and this brings the number of doses gifted to Nigeria by the EU Member States to 20 million, representing 61 per cent of all donated vaccines received by Nigeria through the COVAX facility.

TRIBUNE

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