By Dan-Maryam Zayamu
The Federal Government has officially flagged off the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination exercise across the country.
This is even as the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) will, in the next few weeks, receive 3.9 million more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines.
Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this at the formal flagged off of the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination in Abuja, Monday.
“In the next couple of weeks, we will be expecting up to 3.9 million 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 further disclosed.
He, however, advised Nigerians to continue to observe physical distancing, wearing of face mask and washing of hands even after taking the vaccines.
“Even after vaccination, let us continue to observe the non-pharmaceutical measures such as wearing of facemask, physical distancing, and hand hygiene as we work together to fight this pandemic,” he stressed.
Shuaib noted that the NPHCDA in collaboration with partners has mapped out sophisticated strategies to ensure that the vaccines get to the targeted segment of the Nigerian population because of what he described as “the differences in vulnerability, age, and geographical constraints.
“In preparations for commencement of Phase 2 vaccination, we have trained 40,739 state level personnel comprising of our health workers and partners on our phase 2 strategic vaccine roll out plan in order to capacitate them for this roll out.
“We are fully aware that because Nigeria has started receiving different brands of COVID-19 vaccine, a lot of questions and concerns are being raised on what brand differences would mean to the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.
“We are also aware that mischief makers are still around the corner to take advantage in crafting false information to mislead people on the vaccination.
“I want to assure Nigerians that all brands of COVID-19 vaccine used in Nigeria are certified by NAFDAC as safe and effective especially against the Delta variant,” he explained.
Speaking, the Country Representative of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Walter Mulombo, commended Nigeria for the adequate preparation put in place for the storage of the vaccines, noting that partners will continue to support the country in reaching its targeted population with Safe and effective vaccines.
He said that the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination, has “an initial 4,000,080 doses of Moderna and 176,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines, which will be administered to people aged 18 years and above in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria.”