The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has asked the federal government to take the necessary steps to support logistics and inoculation activities in states to ensure a smooth vaccine roll-out exercise across the country.
According to a communique on Friday by Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, at the end of the 27th emergency teleconference meeting, the governors said efforts must be made to initiate the launch of the vaccination programme in all states from 10th March 2021.
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Kayode said the Forum received a briefing from the Executive Secretary of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, in the company of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Tax Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, on the vaccine roll-out plan for the country.
He added that the meeting also received updates and remarks on the planned vaccination exercise from the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, and members of the Forum’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group led by Professor Oyewale Tomori.
The communique reads in part: “Nigeria received 3.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as part of the COVAX facility arrangement with the government of Nigeria.
“Following extensive discussions on the vaccine administration, governors called on the federal government to take necessary steps to support logistics and inoculation activities in States.”
The governors also resolved to initiate the launch of the vaccination programme in all states from 10th March 2021.
They also vowed to ensure strict compliance and prioritization of the list of eligible persons to be vaccinated starting with all frontline workers, support staff, COVID-19 rapid response teams, workers in lab networks, isolation and treatment centres as well as tertiary and specialist hospitals.
“Strategic leaders will also be vaccinated to give confidence to the public on the safety of the vaccine.
“The second phase will prioritize older adults (50 and above) while the 3rd and 4th phases will focus on adults (18 – 49) with co-morbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, lung disease, and other health conditions; and adults (18 – 49 years) without any underlying health condition and the rest of the population,” according to the governors.
The forum also assured that it would actively monitor vaccine administration in the states through a vaccine implementation dashboard while also facilitating the timely release of counterpart funds from state governments.
Also, it said it would: “Upscale all vaccine communication and advocacy mechanisms already in place in States to reduce the level of vaccination hesitancy amongst Nigerians. Provide adequate security to all state and local government-owned cold stores that will be used.”