NIGERIA ROLLS OUT STRATEGY FOR COVID-19 VACCINATION

Launching the strategy codenamed ‘T.E.A.C.H’ at an event in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, explained that it would help the government to track the vaccination process across the country.

According to him, the strategy also hopes to enable the government to have a rich electronic database of all eligible citizens for vaccination.

The minister explained that vaccination with the safe and effective vaccine was a critical part of Nigeria’s strategy to counter the COVID-19 pandemic and stop transmission of the virus.

Workers unload a shipment of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine bearing Covax stickers from a plane at Felix Houphouet Boigny airport of Abidjan on February 26, 2021. SIA KAMBOU / AFP
Workers unload a shipment of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine bearing Covax stickers from a plane at Felix Houphouet Boigny airport of Abidjan on February 26, 2021. SIA KAMBOU / AFP

“We in Nigeria finally have the privilege to join other countries in kick-starting the immunisation programme which will prioritise first those people most at risk of infection due to their exposure in the line of duty, as determined by available epidemiology data,” he was quoted as saying in a tweet by the Federal Ministry of Health.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, and others at the launch of the COVID-19 vaccination strategy in Abuja on March 1, 2021. Photo: Twitter-@Fmohnigeria

Ehanire added, “In less than 24 hours, the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive in the COVAX facility and will be deployed to vaccinate first our critical frontline healthcare workers who are providing essential care, especially for severe COVID-19 patients.”

“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 described T.E.A.C.H as an acronym for a five-point strategy developed by the vaccination implementation arm of the Ministry of Health and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) out of the many years of vaccination implementation experience in Nigeria.

The minister commended the NPHCDA under the leadership of Dr Faisal Shuaib and his hardworking team whom he said developed a home-grown strategy to deliver the vaccine.

“I thank all partners who have been working hard with NPHCDA under the auspices of NPHCDA COVID-19 Technical Working Group and also the COVID-19 vaccines coordinating committee,” he said.

In his remark, Dr Shuaib explained that the strategy was guided by an in-house vaccination experience, as well as those of other countries that have already rolled out COVID-19 vaccines.

The Country Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Walter Mulombo, was also at the event.

He warned against any form of complacency regarding other interventions, saying Nigeria needed a combination of vaccines and such strategies to attain the needed immunity.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, had announced that Nigeria would soon receive the first tranche of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said last Saturday that the first shipment of 3,924,000 million doses of vaccines would be coming from COVAX, a World Health Organisation (WHO)-backed initiative set up to procure and ensure equitable distribution of vaccines for free among countries across the world.

He had hinted that the vaccines would depart India on Monday and arrive in Abuja on March 2, 2021.

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