By Abujah Racheal
Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has confirmed that COVID -19 vaccines have been deployed and states would start receiving them on Monday.
Shuaib made the confirmation at the daily national briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.
Nigeria took delivery of about four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as part of an overall 16 million doses planned to be delivered in batches over the next few months.
The vaccines are being provided by COVAX, an unprecedented global effort to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
He said: “All things being equal, the delivery of the vaccines will be completed tomorrow.
“The delivery of the vaccines to the states is predicated on satisfactorily meeting the conditions to keep them safe and potent.
“’ We are designating Vaccine Accountability Officers (VAOs) in the states and Local Government Areas (LGAs) to closely monitor the management and utilisation of the vaccines.
“These officers will also ensure retrieval of vaccine vials for proper disposal,
“Adequate provision has been made to deploy the COVID-19 vaccines to all states and vaccination sites where people will be vaccinated according to set priorities, beginning with the frontline health workers and other support staff,” he said.
The NPHCDC boss recalled that the agency officially launched its homegrown T.E.A.C.H. strategy of electronic registration of citizens for the vaccination programme.
According to him, this is the first time in the immunisation programme that the target population will be pre-registered for efficient and orderly scheduling of date and time to receive the vaccine, which will be carried out in phases and pulses according to predetermined classifications.
He said that all persons that are 18-years and above, beginning with the frontline health workers and the elderly are therefore encouraged to register for the vaccination, through the COVID-19 vaccination e-registration portal available on the agency’s website (www.nphcda.gov.ng).
“In addition, the media and all stakeholders involved in this crucial public health intervention should do all they can to promote the e-registration under the Electronic Immunization Data Management Scheme.
“This is as this structure will be further deployed for future public health interventions”, he said.
Shuaib further said that the state launch of the COVID-19 vaccination for frontline health worker was slated for Tuesday at the treatment centres, barring any prevailing local conditions,
He said that most governors have agreed to flag-off on Wednesday, while the statewide rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine would commence from March 12.
“It is expected that states will roll out vaccination only when LGAs have met the minimum criteria for the successful conduct of the campaigns.
“Parameters such as training, cold chain status, the preposition of data tools, availability of transport and logistics for healthcare workers as well as adequate security for vaccines should be the yardsticks for going ahead with implementation.
“Permit me to once again reiterate that an accountability mechanism has been activated in collaboration with the security agencies to check any anticipated sharp practices in the system.
“We also appeal for the continued alliance of the Civil Society Organisations in ensuring equity in the deployment of the vaccines to eligible population and any inquiry or complaints should be sent to email@example.com,” he said.