The government of Nigeria has said that the country is still far from achieving its set target of vaccinating 70 per cent of the eligible population from the COVID-19.
Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), said on Monday, June 20, that the country has been able to fully vaccinate 19 per cent of its eligible population with the COVID-19 vaccine.
“As of Sunday, June 19, out of the 111,776,503 eligible Nigerian residents target for the entire vaccination cycle, a total of 21,236,404 people were fully vaccinated with a different mix of COVID-19 vaccines while 28,426,564 people were partially vaccinated, indicating 19.05 per cent and 25.4 per cent respectively,” Shuaib revealed during a ministerial press briefing organised by the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja.
Shuaib said from the statistics that it was clear that Nigeria was still far from achieving its set vaccination target.
He added that more actions needed to be taken to fast-track the vaccination process to achieve immunity against COVID-19 infection in Nigeria.
The health agency introduced the concept of mass vaccination exercises across the country to meet up with the target.
This concept, according to Shuaib, had been further reinforced with the idea of service integration, where COVID-19 vaccines were given along with other high-impact health interventions like routine immunisation, among others.
He also said another primary strategy was “expanding the vaccination sites to include all the publicly owned PHC, secondary and tertiary health facilities, public, private corporate bodies and selected private health facilities.
“We have also created mass vaccination sites in stadiums, shopping malls, markets, religious houses, motor packs, and carefully selected/trained pharmaceutical stores.”
Despite the slow vaccination cycle, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in its weekly situation report on the virus, reported new confirmed cases increased to 267 (1.7 per cent), from 166 (0.6 per cent) reported in weeks 19 and 20.
The cases were reported in nine states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and a backlog of cases reported from Imo State.
Earlier this year, the Nigerian government insisted on civil servants resuming work with proof of vaccination or a PCR test of not more than 48 hours.
However, despite the strict precaution from the government, an online poll conducted by HumAngle late last year revealed that nearly a fifth of those polled said they would rather quit their jobs than have their employers force them to take a shot of the vaccine.
Many still do not believe the shots to be safe.
Despite the vaccines’ severe testing and assurances of their safety by the World Health Organisation (WHO), 10.6 per cent of the respondents maintained that they were against being vaccinated in Nigeria, while 25.5 per cent were indifferent.
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