By DEBORAH MUSA, Abuja
As immunization of eligible Nigerians against COVID-19 pandemic intensifies in the country,the federal government has said it was committed to effective vaccine distribution.
It vowed that it would not leave any stone unturned in its efforts to achieve the feat.
Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency,NPHCDA,who said this,added that in the past few days, the agency has been focused on effective distribution of vaccines, as well as rounding up the training of state and LGA personnel who will be tasked with the vaccine administration
Dr Faisal made it known that so far, the Moderna vaccine have been deployed to 29 States at the media briefing on the progress of phase 2 Covid-19 vaccination in Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja
Dr Shuaib said “In the last few days, our focus has been on distributing the range of COVID-19 vaccines – Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca to the states, as well as concluding the training of state and LGA personnel to ensure optimum vaccine utilization
“So far, we have deployed Moderna vaccines to 29 States, It is pertinent to state that we could not deploy the vaccines immediately after NAFDAC certification because, unlike the AstraZeneca, the Moderna vaccine did not come with complete barcoding And this is absolutely needed for us to be able to track and trace the vaccines.
“As I told you in previous meetings, Nigeria was the first country to use Track and Trace, to monitor the movement and utilization of the vaccine, At every point in time, we know where each vaccine vial is in the country. This takes a lot of time as it entails careful packaging, serialization and follow up to the end user”
Dr Shuaib reiterated that the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as earlier stated because of its single dose nature is for those in the hard to reach areas like the riverine area, security compromised areas, the nomadic and boarder settlement regions
He further stated that it removes the additional logistic cost of going to these communities twice while he added that they developed the necessary protocols to guide the States and ensure compliance with the distribution guideline for the vaccine.
As for the newly received AstraZeneca vaccine the NPHCDA Executive Director said it will be used as the second dose for those who received their first dose during the first phase, to ensure they are fully vaccinated, Consequently, the administration of AstraZeneca Vaccine will commence on the 25th of August and will close on 5th of September.
He encouraged all those who received their first dose prior to July 8th to visit a designated vaccination site from 25th August to 5th September to receive their second dose to become fully protected against the COVID-19 virus
He also said “we want to ensure that any state we are sending the vaccine to, is fully ready to receive them. Readiness here means that the state’s ultra-cold chain equipment is fully functional and able to store the vaccines at the required temperatures.
“Also, the states must have back-up storage facilities such as Walk-in cold room, Walk-in freezer or chest freezers with reliable 24-hrs power supply. Additionally, we require that the States have completed the training of health care workers who will monitor the equipment and the vaccines
“Now that the vaccines are in the States, we are counting on our Governors to continue to provide the needed oversight and resources to ensure that these vaccines are secured and maintained in the required temperatures and that all eligible persons are mobilized to access the vaccines to protect themselves, their families and their communities against COVID-19”
The NPHCDA boss explained that one of the initiatives introduced in this second phase vaccination rollout and subsequent phases is the primary health care services integration (PSI), which is also known as the “whole of family” approach.
“You may recall that one of the initiatives we have introduced in this second phase of the vaccination rollout and subsequent phases is the primary health care services integration (PSI), also known as the “whole of family” approach.
“This means that when you visit a health facility for your COVID-19 vaccination, you will be given health talks to improve your knowledge of the vaccine and vaccination, and if you are 40 years and above, you will have the opportunity to check your blood pressure and be assessed for the risk of diabetes.
“Similarly, children aged zero to 12 months will be screened for malnutrition and vaccinated against childhood diseases such as measles, yellow fever, hepatitis and polio. If you need further medical attention, you will be referred to the appropriate hospital for additional analysis and treatment.