….Says Nigerians who received vaccines abroad must get tested upon arrival
….Begins online registration of Nigerians for vaccination
By Joseph Erunke
AS Nigeria receives its first batch of 3.92 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines today, the Federal Government has said it would adopt the strategy deployed during the polio pandemic in the country in vaccinating eligible citizens.
Government spoke on a day Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, said Nigerians, who have received the vaccines abroad, would still be required to take polymerase chain reaction, PCR, tests upon arrival in the country.
On the strategy for the vaccination, the government, yesterday, launched the intended platform for the vaccination of people against the virus.
Under the traditional vaccination approach, tagged ”TEACH,” an acronym for a five-point strategy for vaccination developed by the vaccination implementing wing of the Federal Ministry of Health, people would have opportunity of undertaking electronic self registration for vaccination.
The TEACH strategy is said to combine both traditional approaches with modern technologically enabled systems of vaccination.
Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, while launching the platform, expressed optimism that with the expected delivery of the COVID-19 vaccines, Nigeria would be able to stamp out the dreaded disease.
The minister explained that TEACH stands for T: Traditional Vaccination Campaign Approach; E: Electronic Self-Registration by Eligible Nigerians; A: Assisted Electronic Registration of Eligible Nigerians; C: Concomitant Vaccination alongside Electronic Registration and H: House-to-House Electronic Registration.
He expressed hope that with the experience garnered by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, during vaccination and subsequently eradication of polio in the country, the agency would record another feat in its handling of COVID-19.
Ehanire said: “In less than 24 hours, the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive in Nigeria from the COVAX Facility, and will be deployed to vaccinate, first our critical frontline health care workers, who are providing essential care, especially for severe COVID-19 patients, next to those who are highest risk of severe disease from Covid-19 infection and down to 70 per cent of Nigerians.
“The World Health Organisation has advised all countries to limit vaccination for now to persons above 18 years, until research and studies are completed on any possible effect on growing children or 18 years and below, except they have severe underlying illnesses where the benefits justify the risk.
“All countries are following this guideline and other global guidelines, as Nigeria will too. This is made more important by the fact that the target population for this vaccination, as we must remember, is not the usual cohort of children that Nigeria is used to, but this time, adults.
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“I urge all eligible Nigerians to take the COVID-19 vaccination when it is their turn. This is the only way we can achieve herd immunity to stop the community transmission of this deadly virus.’’
He warned Nigerians against anxiety in vaccination, explaining that “before the four million doses of AstraZeneca we are going to receive is expended, we shall be receiving more vaccines, so there should be no need for anxiety.”
Speaking earlier at the event, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, reiterated that “the vaccination process will be in four phases with frontline health workers being the priority group of eligible populations to receive the first doses of vaccines.”
On his part, the Country Representative of WHO, Walter Kazadi, thanked the federal administration for the war it has so far waged against the pandemic.
Nigerians who received vaccines abroad must get tested upon arrival
In a similar development, the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, said yesterday that Nigerians who have received COVID-19 vaccines abroad will still be required to take polymerase chain reaction, PCR, tests upon arrival in the country.
Mamora, who stated this on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, said receiving the vaccine was not a licence to disregard the already established COVID-19 travel protocol.
Online registration of Nigerians for vaccination
Meanwhile, National Primary Health Care Development Agency has announced that Nigerians could now register for the COVID-19 vaccination via its website.
“To register for COVID19 vaccination, visit our website http://nphcda.gov.ng and click on ‘COVID-19 Vaccination e-registration,” the agency said in a tweet.