… Says Lagos State on alert for 3rd wave outbreak
By Sola Ogundipe
Lagosians that are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination have been told to go for their second jab at the vaccination centres where they received their first dose.
The Lagos State Health Commissioner, Prof. Akin Abayomi who made the call yesterday after receiving his second jab at Folarin Coker Staff Clinic vaccination site in Alausa-Ikeja, said the second dose of the vaccine offers full protection against the COVID-19 virus.
“We are encouraging everybody that has had their first dose to come and collect their second dose, so you are fully immunised. One dose is not enough to give you the protection that you need to fight off the virus if you get exposed. So, I have come for my second dose now; I have had it and as of today, I am fully immunised.
“From the first consignment of the Oxford Astrazeneca COVID vaccine we got from the Federal Government, we have administered the first dose of the vaccine to a segment of our population, we are now in the phase of administering the second dose to those that have received the first dose. It’s been almost two weeks since we started the administration of the vaccine and we have been vaccinating across our 88 vaccination centres”.
Abayomi explained that with the second jab he received, he is certain that his immunity is built up to reduce his chance of getting ill to the point of complication or death if infected with COVID again.
“If I come across the virus either by contacting someone or in an environment when the virus is in the air, the virus will try to infect me again but the vaccination would have built up my immunity; and you know I have had COVID before, so when you’ve had COVID plus the vaccination, your immune system is really high.
“What this means is that you can still, catch COVID but it won’t create an illness that results in complications that can lead to death. So what we are trying to do here is not necessarily reduce your chance of infection, but reduce your chance of getting ill and dying; which is what we are all about, we are just trying to save lives.”.
Abayomi observed that multiple variants of the virus reclassified by the World Health Organisation into Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants, are circulating around the world.
“The virus is changing and as it changes, it can deceive your immune system, so even if you’ve had it before, the new virus variants that are coming on now, your body may not recognise it as the original COVID and it can therefore make you unwell.
“So we are saying if you’ve had the infection before and you’ve had the two doses of the vaccine, at least it gives you a start to fight the virus and stop you from getting sick”, he added.
He said to mitigate a possible third wave of infections, the State Government had anticipated that such variant would be imported.
“Many countries have been through first, second, third, fourth and even fifth waves, that is the nature of pandemics; you get these waves coming and going as people relax and as variants emerge then they go round again and infect the population.
“In Lagos, we have what is called the Third Wave Prevention Strategy and the most likely source of the virus that is going to cause a third wave in Lagos or in Nigeria is going to be imported. So, we have put very tight measures at the airport.
“Anybody coming in from a country where we know there are variants of COVID will get mandatory isolation, a test immediately they arrive and another test on day seven; so we are testing twice now.
“You heard that some people were trying to avoid this new guideline and the federal government and Lagos State Government is going to come down very hard on them. They will have their passport suspended, they may be arrested, fined and if not a Nigerian, their work permit and visitors’ visa may be cancelled.
“So, these severe sanctions are for people who are going to try and avoid the new guidelines that have been established by the Federal Government to stop the importation into Nigeria which can trigger the third wave”.
“We have picked up some positives and we have isolated them, which means that they cannot spread that virus into the community and that is why we are still enjoying freedom from the third wave but if we relax and we do not become as stringent and watchful as we are now, the third wave may come in”, Abayomi stated.