Nigeria targets 55m vaccination by end January

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By end January, 2022, Nigeria expects a 50% coverage of its eligible population in the administration of coronavirus.

This national target is coming on the heels of the first and second rounds of vaccination that focused on the strategic leadership, frontline medical workers and other eligible citizens, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha said at the flag-off of the national vaccination campaign in Abuja.

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Mustapha, who is also the Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee on Covid-19, disclosed that the effort to ramp up vaccination is designed to achieve national target of vaccinating 70% of the eligible target population and move Nigeria towards attaining herd immunity by 2022. 

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He said adequate arrangements have been made to increase vaccination sites, among them public and health facilities, mobile vaccination posts such as schools, markets, shopping malls, recreation centres, motor parks, worship houses and other public places attracting high human traffic. 

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Specifically, Mustapha said the National Primary Health Care Development Agency has also devised measures to prevent any compromise of the process along the value chain even as he restated that vaccination is free for all citizens.

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On compulsory vaccination for Nigerians, Mustapha said: “Let me remind Nigerians that the Vaccine Mandate Policy has become a global phenomenon and Nigeria is not an exception. All Federal Government employees are therefore reminded that December 1, 2021 remains the deadline for all to show evidence of being vaccinated or a PCR negative test result done 72 hours before being allowed into their offices.

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“I therefore urge all public servants that are yet to be vaccinated to take advantage of this mass vaccination to receive their vaccines in order to protect themselves and their loved ones. Remember, no one is protected until we are all protected”.

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Health Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire reiterated government’s desire to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus and gain the desired herd immunity quickly.

While listing Nigeria as a high performer in total Covid-19 response, including vaccine roll out, the minister warned against complacency, advising that all hands must be on deck considering a population size estimated at 214 million people.

“We must speed up current vaccination rate across the whole country; we must work harder and faster than others, just to get the same result. It is critical that we reach all the eligible persons in good time,” said Dr Ehanire.

He disclosed that no fewer than 5,985,049 persons have been vaccinated with the first dose, while 3,336,866 have received second dose of coronavirus vaccines. The country is targeting 111,776,503 people to achieve herd immunity.

“It is in the light of this that the Presidential Steering Committee, the Federal Ministry of Health and National Primary Healthcare Development Agency reviewed the vaccine delivery strategy and decided to start the next phase of the National Vaccine Deployment Plan and set up mass vaccination sites,” the minister disclosed.

“Our aim is to have vaccinated 55 million residents of Nigeria by the end of January, 2022, which is 50% of our target population. We have enough vaccines and assurance of flow of high quality vaccines from many sources to be certain that we can sustain the campaign to meet the deadline we have set for ourselves.

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“The Ministry of Health plans to maintain that energy and strive for herd immunity, which we had calculated to be by vaccinating at least 70% of our eligible population. Our preference is to exceed that target, because lessons we learn from observing developments in other countries, is that we need to aim higher than 70%, to be more assured of protecting the health of most Nigerians,” said Dr Ehanire.

He asked all policy makers and influencers to support the national mobilisation effort. Listed are state governors, council chairmen, traditional and religious leaders, community leaders, and the media.

The minister reiterated the safety and effectiveness of all vaccines even as he assured of government’s commitment to “providing safe and efficacious Covid-19 vaccines and dispensing them backed with accountability and transparency.”

“All vaccines are tagged and tracked by NAFDAC to ensure that quality and potency is maintained in the supply chain. No vaccine is allowed to any vaccination site except authenticated and with safety verification. We do not compromise safety and standards,” he said.

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