Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Wednesday said there is a possibility of a fourth wave of COVID-19 as the Yuletide approaches.
The governor said this at the launch of a mass vaccination campaign targeted at reaching four million residents before end of the year.
He said this is part of strategies to prevent the re-emergence of the viral infection.
The immunisation programme was flagged-off with a symbolic event which held at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island in Lagos.
The accelerated vaccine rollout tagged: ‘Operation Count Me in 4million Lagosians Vaccinated Against COVID-19’ is being undertaken by Lagos State Government in collaboration with National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
Sanwo-Olu stated that the mass vaccination campaign would help bolster the State’s response to the emerging threat posed by the pandemic; noting that residents who are 18 years and above are eligible to be fully immunised.
He made known this at the joint committee set up by the Lagos State Government and NPHCDA to oversee the implementation of the campaign would be opening vaccination sites in high traffic locations as part of strategies to expand vaccine access in underserved communities.
He also said mobile vans would be deployed to move round boundary settlements to reach individuals in areas with limited access to health facilities.
Lagos had since March when it started its vaccination programme successfully vaccinated 800,000 residents with the first dose of Moderna vaccine with 310,000 persons fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
This sums total number of residents vaccinated with the first dose of either AstraZeneca or Moderna to 1.2million, raising the number of fully vaccinated individuals to 550,000, which accounts for about 4percent of the State’s population.
Sanwo-Olu re-emphasized that the vaccines being administered are safe and remain free of charge in public health facilities.
The Governor, however, said an administrative charge of N6,000 would be paid by individuals who wish to get the vaccines at approved private facilities.
“There is potential for the fourth wave of COVID-19, as our borders would be opened to all people coming into Lagos in December. To prevent the catastrophic events we witnessed in the previous waves, the State has developed a robust vaccination drive, leveraging on both the strengths we have in the public and private sectors of our healthcare system. In development of our strategy and counter-measures, we prioritise the protection of human lives and keeping our economy open for business.”
“To mitigate against this potential damage that will further spread existing variants of COVID-19 in the State, and accelerate efforts towards herd immunity, the need for a different strategy became a front burner issue. This is what has culminated in the campaign, tagged ‘Count Me In! 4 million Lagosians Vaccinated Against COVID-19’ to target the full vaccination of 4 million Lagos residents before the end of December 2021. Once achieved, this will bring the State closer to reaching our promise to vaccinate 30percent of our population within one year.”
Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, described the vaccination campaign as ‘ambitious’, saying the State Government had put in place two-pronged approach to prevent the fourth wave of the pandemic.
He said, “The first step is to control the in-bound flight passengers and maintain adherence to all preventive measures that have been put in place, while the second step is to closely monitor the isolation of those coming from the red zone area.”
Also, the NPHCDA Executive Director, Dr. Shuaib Faisal, disclosed that only few above 2.9m Nigerians had been fully vaccinated, which is a far cry from reaching the target number for herd immunity.
“We have enough vaccines in storage to give many people the opportunity to get vaccinated. We now have the jabs, but we now need the arms.”