The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has said that the Federal Government has good intentions for all Nigerians as it plans to introduce the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of February and early March 2021.
The Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaibu, said this on Friday while speaking during a virtual sensitisation meeting with media chief executive officers, producers and editors on COVID-19 vaccine introduction in Nigeria.
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He described the vaccine as “strength” against COVID-19, adding that it is about 95 per cent effective.
“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 Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), is to halt the transmission of infection of the COVID-19 virus in the country.
“The evidence is 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,” he said.
Shuaibu said that in the first phase of the vaccine administration, priority would be given to health workers, especially those that work in isolation centres because they are in direct contact with those with cases.
At the sensitisation meeting, a professor of virology, Oyewale Tomori, said the Nigerian government was not doing enough testing due to inadequate laboratories.
He said the number of cases the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was reporting is “a tip of the iceberg compared to what we would have been recording if we are doing enough testing.”
The Director of Disease Control and Immunisation, NPHCDA, Dr Bassey Okposen, in his presentation, said the main objective of the vaccine introduction was to interrupt transmission in communities across the country.
“The vaccine would be given free of charge in four phases; first to the health workers on frontline, second to remaining health workers and people from 50 years and above, while the third phase is for people with underlying ailment, and the last phase is other target groups,” he explained.