*Lagos leads, 8 states yet to commence vaccination
By Sola Ogundipe, Chioma Obinna & Gabriel Olawale
Few days into the COVID-19 vaccination exercise in Nigeria, an update released by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, on Monday showed that a total of 122,410 eligible Nigerians have so far been vaccinated, representing 3.1 per cent of the proportion vaccinated.
A breakdown of the NPHCDA update contained in an Electronic Management of Immunisation Data System, further revealed that Lagos is leading in the exercise with 36,009 persons vaccinated.
Two other states trailing Lagos are Jigawa 19,226, and Bauchi 14,422.
Other states tha have recorded 3-digit figures in the exercise are Ogun, 9,765; Kaduna, 7,099; Kwara, 5,302; FCT, 5232; Nasarawa, 5,133; Adamawa, 4,150; Katsina, 3,401; Osun, 3,234; Yobe, 2,498; Kano, 1,495; Edo, 1,267; Ondo, 887; Imo, 706; Rivers, 699; Cross Rivers, 366; Bayelsa, 358; Plateau, 305; Enugu, 277; Delta, 214; Gombe, 158; Ekiti, 67; Benue, 65; Akwa Ibom, 55 and Anambra, 10, while Ebonyi and Borno recorded 8 and 2 respectively.
Sadly eight states are yet to vaccinate a single person. These include Abia, Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Oyo, Sokoto, Taraba, and Zamfara.
Speaking on the development, the Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said full implementation of COVID19 vaccination, has commenced in 33 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, while four States of Kogi, Kebbi, Zamfara and Oyo are yet to commence.
“We believe this would further assure Nigerians that the government is honest and has made a safe choice of vaccine for protecting its people against COVID -19.
“We shall continue to collaborate with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, pharmacovigilance team to monitor the administration of the vaccine and document any adverse reactions.”
Further, he insisted that no Nigerian has so far developed severe side effects.
“No Nigerian so far has developed any known severe side effects following vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
“What we have observed among some of those vaccinated are mild side effects, such as pain and swelling at the injection site.
“Information reaching us from the states reveal that there are reports of alleged vaccine mismanagement at some vaccination sites e.g. at Police Clinic, Falomo in Lagos state.
“This is currently being investigated and we understand from the Lagos State Government that a report would be made available today.
“We anticipate that decisive action will be taken against anyone found culpable of subverting the vaccination process.
“So, we do expect the full application of the accountability mechanism. Beyond this case, the Federal Government is following closely on its vaccine accountability framework to ensure that similar cases of vaccine mismanagement and other sharp practices are quashed,” he stated.
Continuing, the Executive Director, said the agency had established a collaborative partnership with regulatory and anti-corruption agencies to further strengthen vaccine accountability.
“Generally, the procurement of vaccines will be done with the utmost transparency and government-approved due processes. We have also instituted mechanisms to ensure that the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in all the states is equally free from corrupt practices.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has warned against any form of payment for vaccination.
Speaking yesterday during Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 briefing, Ehanire raised the alarm over vaccine racketeering at some vaccination centres in Nigeria.
He cautioned Nigerians against paying for the vaccine as “everyone will be vaccinated free.”
Ehanire, who was represented by Abdulaziz Abdullahi, permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, however, said fraudulent activities have been reported concerning the vaccination process.
“We have received reports of racketeering in some of the designated vaccination centres. This is not necessary,” he said.
“Vaccination has been scheduled in phases such that frontline health workers and those at higher risk of the infection are vaccinated first after registration at the portal.
“Everyone will be vaccinated free and everyone will eventually be vaccinated. There is no need to pay to be vaccinated.
The minister also said the government met with a group from AstraZeneca, whose vaccine Nigeria is using.”
“The outcome of the meeting was a reassurance of the safety and efficacy of the vaccine against COVID-19. We have not yet recorded unusual side effects among those who have received the vaccine including myself,” he said.