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…To achieve 70 per cent vaccination target by Dec

By Festus Ahon, ASABA

DELTA State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Tuesday, flagged-off the COVID-19 Scales 3.0 implementation in the state and reinterated the state’s government committement to achieve the 70 percent vaccination target by December, 2022.

Speaking during the flag off, held at Umuagu Health Center, Asaba, Okowa stressed the need for Deltans to present themselves for the COVID-19 testing to enable incremental planning and implementation of the vaccination exercise with the objective of halting the pandemic and reversing some of its socio economic effects.

The Governor, who was represented at the ceremony by His Executive Assistant on Primary Healthcare Activities and Chairman Delta State Primary Healthcare Development Agency Board, Dr (Mrs.) Isioma Okoga, said the COVID-19 scale 3.0 programme was to implement what has already been flagged off by the Federal Government.

He said; “the COVID-19 Scales 3.0 is a national programme that was flagged-off last week, where we have to integrate the COVID-19 vaccination with the routine immunization, because we all understand now that COVID was a pandemic but now it is here to stay.

“So for us to really achieve the health immunity that we are all looking towards is to integrate the COVID-19 vaccination with the routine immunization on a day to day basis at the primary healthcare centers and all immunization centers across the state.

“The scale 3.0 will be done in such a way that as the mothers are coming with their babies for immunization, they will have the opportunity to take the vaccine.

“We are not saying it will include newborns, our routine immunization usually focus on newborns to the age of five, we are integrating it so that when their mothers come in to immunize their children, they can also access the vaccine. With the help of the COVID-19 Scale 3.0 we are looking at achieving that before December 31st, 2022.”

He noted that, despite the fact that Deltans have largely embraced the COVID-19 vaccination exercise in principle, the vaccination coverage has been low across many Local Government Areas as just over 13% of the state’s population have received the 1st and 2nd doses of the vaccine.

“This may have sustained the risk of community transmission of the different Omicron sub-variants in communities. To determine the extent of the ongoing community transmission informs the need for more intensified COVID-19 testing in the State”, he added.

In his remarks, the Delta State Coordinator, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Uzorchukwu Ofenakare commended the state government on the level of vaccination so far, but called for more intensified and corporative efforts to achieve the 70 percent vaccination target.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Permanent Secretary/Executive Director, Delta State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Winfrey Orieke, said the state has been able to interrupt the spread of the COVID-19 virus but still have a lot to be done.

He said the programme would be taken into the communities and ensure the people are vaccinated, adding that the vaccines were already available but the awareness has been low.

Also speaking, Dr. Mrs. Faith Orile, representatives of World Health Organization, WHO, said the COVID-19 Scale 3.0 exercise was a mop up one and called on all hands to be on the desk to achieve its objectives.

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