By DEBORAH MUSA, Abuja
To achieve herd immunity and completely win the fight against COVID-19, the Federal government has introduced and expanded on In-site corporate vaccination rollout which involves making special arrangement for eligible staff, dependants and retirees of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government(MDAs) and the private sector to get vaccinated in their office premises
The Federal Government decided to introduce this method for the purpose of total inclusion, in recognition of the fact that some workers may find it difficult to leave their duty post to the vaccination site
Dr Faisal Shuaib, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Executive Director, made this disclosure at the NPHCDA weekly press briefing on the progress of phase II COVID-19 vaccination rollout exercise in the Country on Tuesday in Abuja where he noted that MDAs, public and private corporate organization that require staff to be vaccinated should visit the official website designated for that to fill the request form as the services is provided at no cost
Dr Faisal reiterated that the COVID-19 delta variant is highly contagious and twice as contagious as previous COVID-19 variants which led to his advice, encouraging all eligible persons in the country to get vaccinated
He also disclosed that the phase II COVID-19 vaccination with Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccine has fully commenced in all 36 states and FCT, while as of 6th September 2021, a total of 3,600,858 eligible Nigerians have so far received their 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
“As of 6th September 2021, a total of 3,600,858 eligible Nigerians have so far received their 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine. This is made up of 2,551,738 persons vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine and 1,049,120 persons vaccinated with Moderna vaccine. Therefore, 1,576,011 persons have been fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine. We have now restarted the administration of AstraZeneca as first dose in all designated health facilities. The decision to re-open AstraZeneca for first dose administration is hinged on the fact that we received an additional 1,394,480 doses of vaccines through the COVAX facility. You may recall that at previous briefings I did inform you that as we receive additional supplies, we will open it up for first dose administration.
“I am glad to inform you that our phase II COVID-19 vaccination with Moderna and AstraZeneca has now fully commenced in all the 36 states and FCT. I want to particularly urge all those who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine before 8th July, 2021 to visit the nearest designated health facility and receive their 2nd dose. The list of vaccination sites across the country is available on the NPHCDA website. It has also been published in the Daily Trust and The Nation newspapers
“We also received 1,123,200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine late evening on Saturday 4th September 2021 through the AVATT platform, coordinated by the African Union Commission, as part of the 39,800,000 doses procured by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The NAFDAC team have already taken samples for analysis and are currently scanning the codes to ensure proper serialization of the vaccine.
“In recognition of the fact that some workers may find it difficult to leave their duty post to the vaccination site, we have introduced and expanded in-situ corporate vaccination. This entails making special arrangement for eligible staff, dependants and retirees of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) and the private sector to get vaccinated in their office premises.
“MDAs, public and private corporate organization that require staff to be vaccinated should visit www.nphcda.gov.ng to fill the request form. These services would be provided at no cost to the Ministries, agency/cooperate bodies. States and LGAs should please note that no fees/levies should be mandated from the cooperate bodies when teams are sent to provide these services
“We would like Nigerians to note the number of COVID-19 cases recorded in this third wave. Please remember that the Delta variant is highly contagious, more than twice as contagious as previous COVID-19 variants and the more a community/society remains unvaccinated, the more they allow this virus to mutate to other more virulent forms. We have the vaccines to stop this mutation process and prevent deaths related to this disease. I therefore encourage us to take advantage of the efforts by the Federal Government to ensure citizens are safe and protected from this virus”
On the issue of recognizing the Indian made Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which is also known as Covishield, Dr Faisal noted that it is really more of a documentation matter, rather than a quality issue. He said they got the vaccines through WHO and COVAX. So COVAX and WHO are pursuing the issue across the globe, rather than each Country addressing it separately. The WHO and COVAX have so far gotten 15 Countries to recognize the Covishield vaccine. They are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. They are working on getting more countries to recognize the documentation.
Stating there have been questions raised by some, about a few vaccinated individuals who have contracted COVID-19 infection, Faisal explained that Where such rare cases of COVID-19 infection occur in individuals who have received the vaccination more than 14 days prior, it is called breakthrough infection.
The observation is that in these individuals, the disease is usually milder than those who were unvaccinated. Vaccination prevents one from severe disease, hospitalization and death. If communities continue to remain unvaccinated, it will keep endangering citizens most especially those who are vulnerable, elderly or immunocompromised.
He encouraged all to be their brother’s keepers and adhere to all measures to not just protect themselves, but loved ones, friends and communities enlightening the public that taking the jab is a first step towards taking responsibility.
Dr Faisal gave a detailed explanation on why Nigerians who have been fully vaccinated are still required to isolate upon arrival in the United Kingdom
“We have been inundated with questions about why the UK insists Nigerians who have been fully vaccinated are still required to isolate upon arrival in the UK. The reason is quite simple: We in Nigeria also require fully vaccinated UK citizens to isolate for seven days despite being fully vaccinated. In diplomatic circles, this is often referred to as the principle of reciprocity. Nigeria alongside countries like France and the Netherlands are listed as amber countries by the UK Government based on criteria such as the number of populations immunized and incidence rates of COVID-19 infection. Individuals from Countries listed as amber countries are required by the UK Government to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and be quarantined for a few days. Regardless of a vaccine type or vaccination status, if a Nigerian with a Nigerian passport travels to a Country on their green list and spends 14 days there before going to the UK, they would not be quarantined in the UK because they are coming from a green listed country. Likewise, if a German or Australian that is currently from their green listed country travels to a country like France, Ghana or Italy which is on their amber list like Nigeria, and such an individual spends 14 days or more in these countries before departing to the UK, such an individual would be made to do a COVID-19 test and quarantined, regardless of their vaccination status. Just like Nigeria, every Country has its own COVID-19 travel rules, protocols and guidelines for travellers coming from other Countries. So, this should be a motivation for all eligible Nigerians to get vaccinated, in order for us to increase our population coverage and return back to normalcy”
The World Health Organisation(WHO) country representative Dr Walter Kazadi Molumbo in his speech disclosed that globally, WHO is calling for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September, to enable at least 10% of the population of every country to be vaccinated.
Molumbo said that vaccine injustice is a shame on all humanity and if not properly tackled together, it will prolong the acute stage of the pandemic for years when it could be over in a matter of months.
He revealed that in Africa, the third wave attack seem to have stabilized but the number of new cases is still high at 248 000 reported in the past week
He said “In Africa, the third wave appears to have stabilized but the number of new cases is still very high with almost 248 000 reported in the past week.
“The trend we see is that each new wave strikes Africa faster and harder, reaching a higher number of new cases more rapidly than the previous wave. This puts an increasing strain on already stretched health facilities and health workers. It is useful to point out that vaccine supplies to Africa continue to rise, spurring vaccine uptake. The increasing vaccine supplies raise hopes that the continent will meet the target of vaccinating 10% of the population by the end of September
“In Nigeria, Explanations for the recent upward trend that Nigeria is experiencing
Weak observance of preventive measures, increased population movement and interaction have heightened the risk of COVID-19 resurgence in many States. These factors can contribute to increased case numbers. This ebb and flow in the pandemic’s transmission dynamics is expected and is likely to continue until enough Nigerians are vaccinated” Walumba noted