Home ABUJA COVID-19: FG Says Nigeria Vaccinated 68%, Yet To Meet 70% Target

COVID-19: FG Says Nigeria Vaccinated 68%, Yet To Meet 70% Target

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As at February 7, 2023, Nigeria had only vaccinated 68 per cent of her COVID-19 eligible population, according to the Federal Government.

Therefore, the country has recorded a shortfall of two per cent from her target of attaining 70 per cent vaccination coverage before the end of 2022.

In 2021, the government had said it had invested much and was ready to vaccinate 70 per cent of the population before the end of 2022.

Notably, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and also Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, had in December 2021 lent his voice to official claims that Nigeria invested in enough vaccines to cover over 70 per cent of the country’s eligible population.

Mustapha said that the vaccines were safe and efficacious, hence it was better and safer to be vaccinated against the virus.

However, as at February 7, 2023, Nigeria had only vaccinated 68 per cent of the COVID-19 eligible population, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He was speaking at the First Quarter Review Meeting of the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee (NTLC) on PHC (Public Health Care) Delivery.

At the current review meeting, Shuaib commended the NTLC for its support for Primary Health Care services, reiterating that the fight against COVID-19 was not over until the country attained 70 per cent target coverage of vaccination.

The NPHCDA boss further said that Nigeria needed to look beyond reducing the numbers of circulating Vaccine Derived Polio Virus type 2 (cVDPV2) by over 90 per cent, to get down to zero.

He noted that the target for 2023 was not just reduction but getting it to zero.

He further noted that to eradicate all forms of disease outbreaks, states and local government areas community leaders should improve their routine immunization.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, while appreciating the role of the NTLC, said that the gains that were made over the years in PHC services delivery, were largely attributed to the role of traditional leaders.

Ehanire said that routine immunisation was a standard service of PHCs and was free, safe, effective and available across the country.

“Parents and caregivers need to be mobilised to ensure that children received the vaccine according to Nigerian’s routine immunization schedule,” the Minister said.

He said that the country had made steady progress in the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaign, noting that over 66 million persons were vaccinated so far, bringing the reach to 68 per cent.

“Although there is progress, there are still pockets of rejections and misconceptions about the vaccines.

“This only means that there are persons out there who are aware of how vaccines work, hence there’s a need for us to strengthen our sensitisation to our communities, to ensure everyone is vaccinated,” he said.

Ehanire posited that the incoming administration needs to invest heavily in the primary health care system, noting that 60 per cent of all ailments, according to real estimates, can be handled at the primary care level.

The Minister said that a shift away from PHC was seen more to be the reason progress was not made due to a lack of enough attention and investment.

He further stressed the need to strengthen the country’s health system, while also urging the traditional leaders to recommit themselves to stopping the transmission of all forms of viruses, especially polio, which had been a major concern.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, said that the NTLC would continue to work closely with relevant stakeholders and the NPHCDA.

The Sultan, who was represented by the Emir of Shonga, Alhaji Haliru Ndansua Yahaya, said that the review meetings were important to exchange ideas and also provide an avenue to learn more.

“We await the reports from the just concluded 39th Expert Review Committee (ERC) meeting on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunisation in Nigeria (ERC),” he said.

The NTLC, according to him, would work with its recommendations on routine immunisation intensification and polio outbreak response in the country.

The Chairman of the NTLC and Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mera, said that the review meetings such as this were important to reflect on achievements and bottlenecks in the ongoing efforts to create demand for PHC services.

The objective of the meeting is to review the progress and the role played by traditional leaders in Primary Health Care Delivery at the grassroots.

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