Hajj 2022: NPHCDA Tasks State Govts On Vaccinations

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Vaccine Vaccination
A health worker vaccinating a patient.

As Nigeria begins preparations for the upcoming Hajj, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has urged state governments to take advantage of the COVID-19 and yellow fever vaccines dispatched to the states.

The NPHCDA’s director, planning, research and statistics, Dr. Bulama Garuba made the call yesterday in Abuja at the bi-weekly ministerial press briefing on COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in the country.

Recall that Hajj 2022, the first in two years, is one with many peculiarities. Ordinarily, Hajj arrangements would have reached a climax in Nigeria around this time, only waiting for appropriate stages of execution.

The first batch of 510 pilgrims from Borno State had departed for Madinah to Mecca to commence the main Hajj rituals.

The pilgrims were transported in compliance with the COVID-19 and other diseases’ protocols. 

Garuba said that this was done per the COVID-19 and other disease protocols emplaced by the Saudi Arabian government – mandatory COVID-19 card and the yellow fever card for fully vaccinated citizens. A mandatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is required for those not fully vaccinated. 

According to him, as of June 19, 2022, in the 36 states and the FCT, about 28,427,564 of total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination were partially vaccinated while 21,236,404 of total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination were fully vaccinated.

He said that the proportion vaccinated is 25.4 per cent of the total eligible persons targeted in the country.

“From the above statistics, it is clear that the major reason why NPHCDA, with the guidance of the Federal Ministry of Health, introduced the concept of mass vaccination exercises across the country which further reinforced the concept of service integration where COVID-19 vaccines and more aggressive actions need to be taken to fast-track the process to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19 infection in the country. 

He said that striving to vaccinate 70 per cent of the eligible population of every country remains essential for bringing the pandemic under control and Nigeria is working hard to ensure her citizens have access to the life-saving vaccines. 

“We will continue to work with all stakeholders, partners and communities to ensure an inclusive COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Nigeria.” 

He said the agency has integrated COVID-19 vaccination with routine immunisation and other primary health care (PHC) services to improve access. 

“This means that parents and caregivers can take along their children when going for their COVID-19 vaccination as childhood vaccines have been prepositioned for vaccination of children against child-killer diseases at health facilities and other COVID-19 vaccination sites. 

“Also, PHC services such as blood pressure checks and assessment for diabetes are available for adults,” he said.

Garuba assured Nigerians that the vaccines administered by the Federal Government through the NPHCDA under the guidance of the ministry were safe and effective against all variants of COVID-19, including the Omicron variant. 

He, therefore, called on all eligible Nigerian residents aged 18 years and above to visit the nearest vaccination site to take their jabs and even revisit for a booster dose after six months after the second dose of AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer [as the case may be], but after only two months following the Johnson and Johnson vaccination. 

“The Johnson and Johnson single-dose vaccine is available in all COVID-19 vaccination sites and designated primary health care centres. If you are 18 years and above and are yet to get vaccinated, visit to locate the nearest vaccination site to you,” he said.

Racheal Abujah
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