Thursday, October 6, 2022

COVID-19: FG Launches SCALES 2.0 Strategy, Single Dose J&J Vaccine, Vaccination Site Finder

…Says Nigeria has administered over 20million doses

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.

As part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Federal Government has launched the SCALES 2.0 Strategy using the Johnson and Johnson single-dose vaccine and the vaccination site-finder.

Speaking at the launch yesterday in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, explained that SCALES is an acronym for ‘service delivery, communication, accountability, logistics, electronic reporting and supportive supervision’ for the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination, adding that SCALES was introduced to rapidly ramp up COVID-19 vaccine coverage and reinvigorate routine immunisation uptake by expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines outside the health facility.

He noted that while battling to contain COVID-19 and rollout the vaccines, Nigeria has recorded a significant decline in routine immunization and other basic primary health care services’ uptake in the country, stressing that SCALES provides an opportunity to leverage on the structure to improve routine immunisation.

“There is a unique opportunity to leverage the SCALES strategy using COVID-19 vaccination structures and resources to improve routine immunization (RI) coverage, with improved efficiency and reduced duplication of efforts by health care workers. This is to ensure that while controlling the transmission of COVID-19, Nigeria does not become a fertile ground for the outbreak of childhood vaccine-preventable diseases by rapidly increasing RI uptake alongside COVID-19 uptake.

“It has become imperative that we launch the SCALES 2.0 Strategy, which entails the integration of COVID-19 vaccination with childhood routine immunisation for eligible adults and children zero to two years, respectively, leveraging mass vaccination campaigns, routine immunization fixed sessions, outreach services and mobile services. Also, we are rolling out the Johnson and Johnson single-dose vaccine while introducing the COVID-19 vaccination site finder.

“This means that all childhood vaccination, including administration of Vitamin A, will now be done alongside COVID-19 vaccination at COVID-19 vaccination sites. Eligible children will now be able to receive their BCG, Penta 3, OPV 3, OPV 1&2, Measles, Yellow Fever vaccines, as well as Vitamin A supplement, at the sites where the adults receive COVID-19 vaccines. This is the good news we are bringing to Nigerians today,” he maintained.

The minister pointed out that Nigeria now has adequate stock of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, with over 30 million doses in stock. He called on all eligible persons yet to be vaccinated to go to the nearest COVID-19 vaccination site and get vaccinated. 

He, however, clarified that the single-dose offers the same protection as two doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer Bio-N-Tech and Moderna vaccines. Ehanire encouraged those yet to get their first dose of AstraZeneca, Moderna or Pfizer vaccines to ensure they take their second dose when due, to be fully vaccinated and protected.

The minister commended the executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, for his continued innovative and exemplary leadership in vaccination and other primary health care services’ delivery in Nigeria. 

He added that, as of February 18, 2022, Nigeria has administered over 20million doses, representing over 18 per cent of the 111,176,503 eligible population targeted for COVID-19 vaccination.

“We will continue to strengthen our vaccine security and accountability through the NPHCDA Joint Task Force on Vaccine Monitoring and Accountability. We will continue to engage with all stakeholders, partners, and communities, to ensure inclusiveness and transparency in decision making and other processes involved in COVID-19 vaccination and overall health care delivery in Nigeria,” Ehanire stated.

Earlier in his remarks, Shuaib said the launch of the SCALES 2.0 Strategy will ensure Nigerians get a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, as the country plans to double its COVID-19 vaccine shot to 500,000.

“We want everyone to have access to single shots. This will improve access to the COVID-19 vaccine and the launch of the 2.0 strategy programme will ensure that every Nigerian has a chance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” he added.

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