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COVID-19: FG to introduce vaccine February ending

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has said Nigerian government has good intention for all Nigerians as it plans to introduce the COVID-19…

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has said Nigerian government has good intention for all Nigerians as it plans to introduce the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of February and early March 2021.

The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaibu who was speaking during a virtual sensitization meeting with media CEOs, Producers and Editors on COVID-19 vaccine Introduction in Nigeria on Friday said, the vaccine is the new strength against COVID-19.

According to him, “The aim of the vaccine which has been certified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and will still go through the approval of the National Agency for the Control Of Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC) is to halt transmission of infection of the COVID-19 virus in the country.”

Dr. Faisal said in the first phase of the vaccine, priority would be given to health workers “because they are the ones that are in direct contact with cases especially those that work in isolation units.”

He added that he would like to see a situation where the president and Vice President and the SGF and critical leaders will come and take the vaccine in the full glare of the public to demonstrate that this vaccine is safe.

“The evidence is there that when you use vaccines, you are more likely to quickly attain health immunity and you are able to protect more people from being infected using vaccine.”

A professor of Virology, Prof Oyewale Tomori at the sensitization meeting said Nigeria government is not doing enough testing “because we do not have enough laboratories.”

“The number of cases NCDC is reporting is a tip of the iceberg compare to what we would have been recording if we are doing enough testing.

“Nigeria should learn from the experience of Polio vaccination and build on the positive action that was taken then. 60 years after independence and we are just building laboratories. The ones we have are not been efficiently used, they are not adequately supplied with testing kits. Why should states get billions of naira and still will not test and we do nothing about it.”

The Director, Disease Control and Immunisation, NPHCDA, Dr. Bassey Okposen in his presentation said, the main objective of the vaccine introduction is to interrupt transmission in communities across the country.

He said the COVID-19 vaccine introduction strategic team has been established to provide strategic direction and guidance to the technical working group headed by the ED, NPHCDA, adding that the vaccine has been certified by WHO to be safe and it would also undergo another certification by NAFDAC before being administered to the people.

“The vaccine would be given free of charge in four phases, first to the health workers, second remaining health workers and people from 50 years and above, third phase, people with underlying ailment and the last phase is, other target groups.”

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