By Iyemah David
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) said 1.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine has been administered to health workers since the launch of the vaccination in March 2021.
The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, told Health Reporters on Tuesday in Abuja that other frontline workers account for 3.4 million COVID-19 vaccines administered across the country.
He disclosed that over 20 per cent of fully vaccinated persons in Abia, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kwara, Oyo and Zamfara have taken their first booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Shuaib said that as at Nov. 7, 2022, figures show that 51,397,212 of total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), were fully vaccinated, while 12,584,955 of total eligible persons targeted were partially vaccinated.
He said that “the COVID-19 vaccine is free, safe and effective,” noting that the country has four brands of the COVID-19 vaccine received from the COVAX Facility and the African Union, namely: AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines.
“A booster dose is the additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine taken after the full dose of any brand of the vaccine for further protection against the virus. Consequently, for a two-dose vaccine, the booster dose will be the third dose.
“We all need a booster dose because as the COVID-19 virus keeps mutating, a booster dose is recommended to enhance immunity and provide further protection against emerging variants.
“There are adverse events following vaccination and should be reported to designated persons and platforms. The vaccine does not affect one’s fertility. It is available and accessible to all eligible Nigerians. It does not alter the DNA.”
The executive director also said that the agency had implemented strategies, aimed at ensuring that the COVID-19 vaccines reached the last mile and the strategies were supported by partners to achieve the desired coverage across the country.
He said, “places in armed conflict and hard-to-reach areas were prioritised by NPHCDA and partners.”
He added that to ensure the actualisation of the agency’s strategies, the COVID-19 vaccination programme is now strengthening the Primary Healthcare system by using routine immunisation as an entry point.
He said “the current approach for delivery of COVID-19 vaccine known as optimised SCALES 3:0 strategy entails the integration of the coronavirus vaccine with the current implementation.
“This means that parents and caregivers with children or wards aged zero to two years are encouraged to bring their children to the COVID-19 vaccination site where childhood vaccines are available.
“While the adults receive the COVID-19 vaccine, children are assessed for the antigen they are due for and vaccinated, thus making the vaccination family-friendly.
“We believe this will further motivate eligible persons, including pregnant and breastfeeding mothers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“Visit the nearest PHC to inquire about immunisation schedule today,” he advised.
He, therefore, urged healthcare workers to provide accurate information about the benefits of immunisation as they provide the immunisation schedule to parents and caregivers.