As Lagos, Ekiti, Ondo, Osun, others flag off programme
By Chioma Obinna, Dayo Johnson, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Shina Abubakar, Rotimi Omojoyela, Peter Duru & Umar Yusuf
As Lagos prepares to roll out its COVID vaccination programme, medical doctors in the state are demanding equity in the vaccination processes as well as strict adherence to the initial plans of vaccinating health workers and other front liners to ensure a hitch-free vaccination of all Lagosians.
In a chat with Vanguard, the Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Lagos State branch, Dr Adetunji Adenekan said the Association was yet to get notification from the state government on the modalities of the rollout of vaccines in the state.
Adenekan, however, said expectations were high even though health workers in the state, especially medical doctors have had their fair share of the impact of the pandemic since it broke out.
“We are happy that the vaccine doses have finally landed in Lagos because we have been waiting for this vaccine for too long. We are not sure of the number of doses but we expect that the modalities will follow the initial pattern of vaccinating the front liners and strategic leaders.
Categorisation of health workers
Lamenting that Lagos state was yet to map out strategies on the modalities of the roll-out, Adenekan disclosed that there should be some form of categorisation among the health workers as there are key health workers as front liners, followed by workers over 60 years as well as those with comorbidities and all other health workers.
“Even among health workers we have the frontliners, health workers who are 60 and above, we have health workers who have comorbidities, and when they are through, all other health workers will follow.
“But there is no categorisation of whether a person is a doctor or another health worker. We expect equitable distribution and that the government will follow this pattern.
In a recommendation, Adenekan said there should be a classification of health workers.
“Like the front liners, after them, we believe that they should give health workers who are 50 years and above. Health workers with comorbidities and then all health workers. We recommend that the rollout should follow that order.”
Noting that Lagos is the epicentre of the pandemic, he argued that it must be treated as such.
“We have the largest number of health workers in the population; even in the NMA, we are the largest zone that is why we are not just a branch but a zone. We had expected that we should have the largest number of vaccine doses.
“We are aware that there will soon be a flag off and they are trying to map out secondary centres apart from the primary health centres where some of the vaccinations can also be given. We insist that we should implement the plans for health workers. “
Stating that NMA should be a partner in progress with the state government, Adenekan said as stakeholders there should be direct communication.
“If there is a plan, we are yet to hear that. From what we are hearing they are going to map out some things tomorrow (today). We expect that these plans should have started since we have been expecting the vaccines to arrive. I believe we also need to improve on that aspect and make sure that all stakeholders are carried along especially in the health workforce.
He lamented that dates picked by some of their members in the state had expired as Lagos was yet to roll out vaccination.
“The state government should harmonise the process to ensure that all health workers are vaccinated,“ he said.
On his own part, the Lagos State NMA Secretary, Dr Imeh Okon who lamented the impact of the secondwave infections on doctors in Lagos, said many of their colleagues lost their lives between November and now, hence the need to prioritise vaccination of health workers.
“Ordinarily one would have expected Lagos gets highest because yes, it’s the epicentre, and we have been the worst hit with COVID 19 casualties, especially amongst health care workers. Health workers are prioritised based on exposure.”
Lagos commences vaccination today — Sanwo-Olu
Meanwhile, following the receipt of 507,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, Lagos State is commencing its vaccination exercise today.
The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who disclosed this while hosting the World Health Organisation, WHO, Representative for Nigeria, Dr. Walter Mulombo, in Alausa, Ikeja, said the vaccination, would be in line with the scheduled guidelines laid down by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA.
Sanwo-Olu said a multi-stakeholder COVID-19 Vaccine Access and Distribution Committee had been inaugurated, chaired by the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi.
Sanwo-Olu said: “We are truly grateful that they (federal government) can give us that number, we want a lot more. We have the Vaccine Steering Committee that we put in place, which has both the private sector practitioners and public sector practitioners.
”They have designed a robust vaccine implementation strategy, they have identified the various levels of our citizens and what order we are going to be administering the doses that we have.
”With all of that now, working with the Primary Health Board at the state level, we will start administering it maybe from tomorrow or as they plan.”
Earlier, Mulombo said that the prompt response of the Lagos State Government on COVID-19 had made Nigeria a reference point for other African countries.
According to him, Lagos State Government is among the first to show courageous measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fayemi flags off vaccination in Ekiti
In Ekiti state, Governor Kayode Fayemi allayed the fears in some quarters about the efficacy and effects of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, saying “we should not introduce unnecessary sentiments to the health and well-being of our people for whatever reasons”.
Fayemi spoke at the flag-off of the vaccination exercise in Ado-Ekiti, where his deputy, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, and some frontline health workers the received vaccine.
The State Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Oyebanji Filani administered a dose of the vaccine to the Governor.
The Wife of the Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Funminiyi Afuye and a representative of the State Council of Traditional Rulers/ Attah of Aiyede-Ekiti, HRM Oba Abdulmumin Orisagbemi, and some members of the public also received the vaccine at a brief ceremony, at the Fajuyi Pavillion, Ado-Ekiti.
The Permanent Secretary Hospital Management Board and Covid 19 Case Management Lead, Dr Williams Afolabi is the first health worker to receive the vaccine in Ekiti.
The Commissioner for Health/Human Services, Dr. Banji Filani, disclosed that Risk Communications officials are currently being trained to tackle misinformation across the 16 LGAs of the state ahead of the rollout of the vaccines in Ekiti.
Akeredolu takes 1st jab in Ondo
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state has taken the first jab of the COVID-19 vaccine even as he urged Nigerians to shun unfounded rumour about the vaccine.
He took the first jab alongside his deputy, Lucky Ayedatiwa, and some traditional rulers in Akure, the Ondo state capital.
Traditional rulers who also took the vaccine jab include the Osewawe of Ondo Kingdom, Oba Dr. Victor Kiladejo, Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi, and former Deputy governor.
Akeredolu said the Ondo state cold chain is fully functional and ready to receive and properly store the COVD-19 vaccine doses.
He charged all local government chairmen, traditional rulers, religious leaders, and health workers to step up intensive sensitisation activities for the good people of the state to register and get themselves vaccinated.
Oyetola, wife, others vaccinated
Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, on Wednesday took the AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine at the Government House, Osogbo. The vaccine was administered by the Chief Medical Director, Osun State University Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, Prof. Peter Olaitan.
It was also administered on the Wife of the Governor, Kafayat, and the Deputy Governor, Mr. Benedict Alabi, and some senior officials of the government.
The State government had earlier administered the doses of the vaccine on the frontline medical personnel in line with the protocol and schedule by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.
Speaking after receiving the jab, Oyetola said the decision to be part of the first set of citizens to take the vaccine was to build confidence in the public, particularly citizens and residents of the State, that the vaccine is safe.
“Like I promised yesterday, I have just received my first jab of the vaccine as a demonstration of leadership after some of our frontline medical personnel had been vaccinated in line with the protocol and schedule by the NPHCDA.
“With this, we are beginning to see the end of Covid-19. I encourage Osun citizens and residents to register and present themselves for vaccination.
Adamawa receives 59,280 doses
The Adamawa State government has taken the delivery of 59,280 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Chairman of the State Contentment Committee on the pandemic COVID-19, Bashir Ahmed, who disclosed this Wednesday, said the exercise would follow the guidelines laid down by the NPHCDA.
Ahmed who doubles as the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) disclosed said the administration of the vaccines to beneficiaries would be through online registration.
The programme, he stated would be launched Monday next week.