By Zayamu Hassan
The Federal Government of Nigeria says it would expand access to the COVID-19 vaccine through the decentralization of vaccine utilization by involving the private sector in the vaccine administration.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, who disclosed this at a media briefing, said that with this arrangement, private hospitals that meet the set criteria will be allotted COVID-19 vaccines to administer to eligible Nigerians.
He said that the vaccines will be administered at the private health facilities with the support of the government health officials.
Dr Shuaib revealed that in the next few months, Nigeria will receive huge quantity of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX facility which needed efficient and faster way to utilize them.
“In the coming months, Nigeria will be receiving more doses of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX facility. We anticipate that the vaccines will be quite large in amount, and therefore will require more efficient and faster ways of utilizing them including expanding access to the vaccines.
“We have, therefore, started implementing the decentralisation of vaccine utilisation by involving the private sector in the vaccine administration.
“Currently, COVID-19 vaccines are available at Government health facilities only. As we decentralize, private health facilities who meet the set criteria will be allocated COVID-19 vaccines, after due training of their immunization service providers.
“Vaccinations in private health facility will continue with the help of Government health officials. Subsequently, clients will be able to access COVID-19 vaccines at both government and private health care facilities in the country.
“This will be done at different levels which would include the states and local governments. We are taking every caution to ensure that when implemented, the decentralization policy is not corrupted. Private health care facilities will be carefully selected based on transparent eligibility criteria, and supervision will be maximized to ensure discipline and compliance with safety measures.
“The goal, as I said, is to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines and to ensure rapid and safe vaccine utilization.”
Dr Shuaib also revealed that his agency has received 501,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX facility as donation from the Government of France and that it has also gotten confirmation that it will be receiving 3,577,860 doses of Pfizer vaccines within the next two weeks.