By Dan-Maryam Zayamu
The World Health Organization (WHO) has applauded Nigeria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic saying it is among the best in the world.
The WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr Walter Mulombo, made the revelation during the inspection of the arrival of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, in Abuja, Thursday.
“Today, we are witnessing the symbolic arrival of 177,600 Johnson & Johnson vaccines, another landmark event in Nigeria’s response to COVID-19 pandemic; widely acclaimed by many as one of the most successful so far in the world. Nigeria was ranked fourth among the top ten most successful responses to COVID-19.
“WHO had on many occasions, commended the Government, including the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), Federal Ministry of Health and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), for the successful completion of the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out with the vaccination of the front-line workers and other priority groups who are at high risk of COVID-19.
“Nigeria’s preparation for the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination involving more resources and logistics is highly commendable.
“Moreover, a multi-sectoral approach at the different levels of the Government has been set-up to address issues around COVID-19 vaccine hesitancies; If any.
“These vaccines are safe and effective and will be the game-changer: but for the foreseeable future, we must continue wearing masks, physically distance and avoid crowds.
“J&J vaccine is highly effective against the Delta variant and against severe disease, hospitalisation and death from COVID-19,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed that the 177,600 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was part of the 29,850,000 doses that the federal government procured from the African Union through the AVATT platform.
According to him: “Today we are receiving 177,600 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine, being part of the 29,850,000 doses that the Federal Government of Nigeria procured from the African Union through the AVATT platform.
“The balance of the vaccines will be delivered over the coming months. But we are glad to hear that before the end of August, the total quantity of vaccines that we will be receiving is 1,173,132.
“We have the capacity and capability to store and distribute this vaccine all the way to the point of administration, as we have working freezers in all 36 States plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is stored at temperatures of +2 to +8 degree Celsius, which is the temperature in which most of our routine immunisation vaccines are stored.
“Because it is a one dose effective vaccine, these doses will be focused on those who are in the hard-to-reach areas, that is, the riverine areas, desert communities, security compromised areas and also the elderly. This is because these are people who may find it difficult to leave their homes to the health facilities for the second dose after taking the first one.
“We have mapped out the best strategies in targeting different segments of our population because of the vulnerability in the age and geographic constraints.”