he National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has again appealed to Nigerians, who are yet to be vaccinated, to get the COVID-19 vaccines.
The Executive Secretary of the agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, made the call at a one-day evaluation meeting for COVID-19 vaccination exercise.
The meeting was organised by the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF), an independent partner, assisting the NPHCDA to drive the campaign for vaccination against CoVID-19.
NSSF entered into agreement with NPHCDA in Sept. 2021, to support COVID-19 vaccination campaign across the country, but kick-started the project with six states, including Edo, Ogun, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Katsina and Imo.
The goal, of the agreement is to vaccinate one million eligible Nigerians in the States
Shuaib, represented at the meeting, by Dr Bassey Okposen, Director of Disease Control and immunisation/Programme Manager, COVID-19 vaccination war room, NPHCDA, said: ”the virus was still very much in the circulation.
”COVID-19 is still very active and there is need for Nigerians to get vaccinated and stay safe.
”People are still dying globally, there are countries that are still having new outbreaks, it is good we take the vaccine and kick COVID out of our country.
“We are not only doing COVID-19 vaccination at the moment, we are also doing integrated vaccination, along with routine immunisation, maternal services and other care at the primary healthcare level.
“As a nation, we have not achieved credibility on this, we need to get vaccinated so that we can still be safe as a country”, he said.
He said till date, 55.6 per cent of Nigerians have taken only the first dose.
The director also said that 44.6 per cent of Nigerians are fully vaccinated.
“The current drive under the leadership of the Minister of Health, with the support from the President and the entire presidential steering committee on COVID-19, has made us move the figure from 13 per cent.
“Our target is to ensure 70 per cent of the population get vaccinated before December 2022, we are working hard on this”.
Also speaking, Dr Fejiro Chinye-Nwoko, General Manager/CEO, NSSF, stated that the organisation, conceptualised the meeting to get brief on the improvement of the vaccination on states the partner was already supporting.
She said with the coming of the independent partner, NSSF, the vaccination figure had risen from over four million Nigerians, where it was met, and had been able to increase the vaccination figure tremendously.
“In September 2021, NPHCDA approached us for support to increase the vaccination coverage, as at that time, the coverage was just over four million Nigerians who had vaccinated for COVID.
“We supported NPHCDA by donating N300 million for the vaccination in six states, and with that support, we were able to vaccinate over two million Nigerians.
“Apart from the direct support vaccination that we got from the six states, we were able to accelerate the vaccination all over Nigeria, which also led to the current number of 40 million Nigerians who have vaccinated.
“We have gotten the partnership and we will remain partners, we are working with them, advocating for more support, for more coverage, for more mobilisation to reduce vaccine hesitancy in Nigeria,’’ she said.
She added that the availability of the vaccine was not a challenge, but the hesitancy is the major challenge, stressing that, NSSF was also working with NPHCDA to increase mobilisation and reduce vaccine hesitancy in other states.
According to her, in no distant time, the NSSF will get the 70 per cent coverage which is the country’s target.
Also contributing, Mr Adis Mohammad, Executive Secretary, Nasarawa State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, appreciated the NSSF, for the funds.
Mohammed said the fund and with the support of the state government, the state healthcare agency was able to get the people to access the vaccine.
”When the fund came the state government and other partners like UNICEF, the state healthcare was able to mobilise the people easily.
“We were able to penetrate some communities, mobilise the people, as well as use the money for other activities like, jingles, buying T-shirts, handbills and posters to drive the campaign for people to get vaccinated.
“Our success story is also driven by Gov. Abdullahi Sule who gave us the enabling environment, no matter the strategy, if you don’t have the support of the government, the right environment will not be able to implement your plan.
“We have a government that gave us all the needed support for us to go out and mobilized the citizens of Nasarawa state to access this vaccine, this also included our strong vaccination team within the state, all what we carried out was team work,’’ Mohammad said.