Friday, January 27, 2023

COVID-19: Nigeria 21.6m Away From Achieving 70% Vaccination Target

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AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has said that the country needs to vaccinate 21.6 million more eligible persons to attain its target of having fully vaccinated 70 per cent of its eligible population by December 2022.  

Speaking to journalists today (November 29, 2022) in Abuja, the NPHCDA executive director, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said 62 per cent of the country’s eligible population was partially vaccinated against COVID-19. 

According to him, as of November 25, 2022, 56,790,371, total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination are fully vaccinated while 12,492,646 of total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination are partially vaccinated in the 36 states and the FCT.

“The country has fully vaccinated half of the total population eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

“The country has fully vaccinated an additional over 25 per cent of its eligible population in the last 110 days of SCALES 3.0 implementation,” he said. 

The NPHCDA boss said that 13.2 per cent of fully vaccinated persons in the country have received the COVID-19 booster dose for additional protection against the virus. 

He commended the COVID-19 Strategy Group for achieving 50 per cent vaccination coverage in the country and attributed the success to the team’s tireless work.  

Also, Shuaib said he has directed the team to intensify efforts towards the attainment of, at least, 70 per cent of the country’s targeted population to achieve herd immunity on COVID-19. He further congratulated the country for the feat and promised to sustain the momentum.

The NPHCDA boss said that the country’s target remained to get to 70 per cent of the targeted population. 

“Until this is achieved, the strategy group will continue to develop strategies that will help the country achieve health security,” he stated. 

Recall that, in the last nine days, the country has not registered any new infection of COVID-19. As of November 19, the country has 266,283 confirmed infections, 259,640 discharged cases and 3,155 deaths, since the commencement of the pandemic in February 2020. 

In the last six months, the country has sustained a decline in the number of new cases of COVID-19 and the importation of infection of COVID-19 from other countries.

Also, it has seen a consistent decline in hospitalisation and the country has not recorded any mortality in the last 46 days. 

Meanwhile, the latest COVID-19 waves in China have revealed more transmissible but less lethal strains of the coronavirus – even though it is still too early to be optimistic – public health experts have warned.

Just days after China relaxed some zero-COVID-19 measures, infection numbers in the current outbreak hit a new high of 40,052 on Monday, with 36,304 yet to show symptoms.

As of November 27, 2022, 104 cases were identified as “severe”, with seven deaths recorded so far. All patients who died were over 80 and had comorbidities.

According to epidemiologists, waves risk burdening the health system and if China were to change its response, it should put fewer resources into mass testing and more into vaccination and public education. 

Meanwhile, public health experts in Nigeria have said that the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 should tighten the country’s rules on the testing of international arrivals across all airports and land borders. 

They said that the committee should return any protections that the country would need to use to prevent any further surge. 

“The PSC needs to continue comprehensive and tailored public health and social measures to prevent transmission; the earlier the protective measures are implemented, the less restrictive they would be to be effective.

“It’s a few days to December and many churches will be having people coming from across the world. 

“The more COVID-19 circulates, the more opportunities the virus will have to change and mutate and the pandemic will spread across the country again,” they said. 

Racheal Abujah
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