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COVID-19: Nigeria starts vaccination as Dr. Nyong gets first jab

… 65 vaccination centres established in Abuja

Nigeria yesterday commenced the vaccination of COVID- 19 vaccine, with a physician, Dr. Cyprian Nyong, of the National Hospital, Abuja, taking the first shot of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine at the National Hospital, Abuja. The AstraZeneca vaccine, which arrived Nigeria on Tuesday, is administered in two doses taken weeks apart.

The vaccine has 63.09% efficacy and is suitable for low- and middle-income countries due to easy storage requirements. The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) earlier on Friday gave final approval for rollout of the vaccine that was approved for emergency use by the World Health Organisation (WHO) last month. Officials at yesterday’s ceremony appealed to Nigerians to cooperate with the government in the campaign to vaccinate 70 per cent of the population between now and next year. Government officials, including President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and other strategic leaders are expected to take the vaccine today (March 6).

However, Nyong received the vaccination during the official flag off of the vaccination exercise by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari. Other health workers who made history in taking the first sets of the vaccine includes; Dr. Joseph Nuru, Eragbai Faith and Dr. Tahir Yunusa, who saved 10, 549, lives at Gwagwalada COVID- 19 isolation/treatment centre, Abuja.

Present to witness the event were Senate President, Ahmed Lawan who was represented by Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe; Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha; Ministers of Health, FCT and representatives of donor partners.

Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib who administered the vaccine to Dr. Ngong, commended him and several other health care workers for working tirelessly in providing the needed counsel and treatment at the various COVID- 19 isolation centres they were assigned to. Ngong, who encouraged Nigerians to avail themselves for the vaccine which was not a biological weapon as claimed by some “uninformed” people, he wished the vaccine had arrived earlier to save his father who apparently died of COVID-19 complications. Chairman Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on COVID- 19, Boss Mustapha, said Nigeria was determined to win the war against the pandemic.

He said: “The human activities that culminated in the arrival, authorisation and distribution of vaccines have shown that humanity, when working for a common goal and unity of purpose, possess the capacity to achieve a lot. “In keeping with our promise, the PTF is prioritising the frontline healthcare workers in the first batch of vaccines received.

They have fought hard to save us. They laid down their lives for us, and in the ICUs and treatment centres, they became our last line of defense.” Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who said the vaccination exercise would be carried out in four batches targeting a specific segment of society, confirmed that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has certified the vaccine safe for use in Nigeria. Ehanire clarified that pregnant women and persons under the age of 18 were ineligible to take the vaccine except medically certified as there was no scientific assessment of the safety of people in that group.

He said: “The vaccination exercise must be done in accordance with the guidelines as clearly stated by federal ministry of health.” Minister of FCT, Mohammed Musa Bello, disclosed that 65 centres have been designated as vaccination centres across the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

We must rally behind govt – Gbajabiamila

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has urged all Nigerians to rally behind the Federal Government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, describing it as “an unseen enemy” causing havoc around the world. He noted that only a collective effort devoid of politics and conspiracy theories could guarantee a successful war against the virus. Gbajabiamila, who spoke yesterday in Abuja, during the National Flag-off of COVID- 19 Vaccination in Nigeria, also appealed to the media to pass accurate information about the virus and the vaccines to the public.

The speaker added that the vaccination was an ‘epical’ moment in the history of the country, as Nigeria finally began the journey of fighting a pandemic that ravaged it and changed lifestyles in the last one year. Nigeria had on March 2 received the first batch of about 4 million Oxford/AstraZeneca jab Covid-19 vaccines and launched the national vaccination against the virus on Friday. Gbajabiamila said: “This is the time for us to rally behind the government.

Like the Secretary to the Government of the Federation has said, the virus knows no creed, knows no religion, knows no ethnicity, knows no sex and knows no age. “So, it is important for all of us to come together as a country to fight the pandemic. As I have often said, we are actually in a war, but in a war with an unseen enemy.”

Delta set to vaccinate 3m residents

The Delta State Commissioner for Health Dr. Mordi Ononye has said the state is set to vaccinate over three million tesidents. He said Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, his deputy, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro and other top government functionaries would top the list of those to be vaccinated. In an interview, Ononye alleged that the Federal Government had kept the state incommunicado on the doses approved for it. He said: “We don’t know how many yet. The national has not told us how many doses we are getting. For us, we are planning to vaccinate above 18 years and of course, we are beginning with those in the frontline workers, and those above 60 years of age.”

Kano govt: We’re expecting 160,000 doses

The Kano State Government yesterday said it was expecting about 160,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines from the Federal Government, just as doctors and peoples of old ages are expected to receive the first vaccination. Similarly, the state government, which is expected to receive its share of the doses by next week, noted that the 44 local government areas are to be vaccinated at a go, so as not to gives room for any suspicions. The Coordinator, State Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Tijjani Hussaini, said after receiving the doses, Kano State has a functional health facilities across the 44 local government and they were going to be stored there. He said: “We have functional health facilities that are since ready to received these kind of vaccines and we are going to use them in keeping what we are receiving for onward administering on Kano residents.

We’re ready to vaccinate residents-Ondo

govt With the arrival of COVID- 19 vaccines in Nigeria, the Ondo State Government has confirmed its readiness to ensure that residents of the state are vaccinated against the virus. However, the state government emphasized that the vaccines is yet to arrive in the state. Speaking with Saturday Telegraph on the development, the Chairman of the state’s Inter Ministerial Committee on COVID-19, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi, said the state was still awaiting the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) response on when the vaccines would be sent to the state as well as the expected number. Fatusi, who is also the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Medical Sciences (UNIMED), said immediately the vaccines are received in the state, the existing system of vaccination and immunisation across the state would be immediately activated.

Sanwo-Olu to speak on Monday

Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is expected to speak on the vaccination plan before Monday. The state’s Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who disclosed this, said there were plans for the vaccination of residents in the state, which would be unveiled by Sanwo-Olu. The commissioner, who also refused to comment on whether the state has received the vaccines despite being the epicentre of the pandemic in the country, insisted that the governor will reveal the plan to the public possibly this weekend.

Imo govt: We’re depending on FG

The Imo State Government has said it has no alternative plans of procuring the COVID-19 vaccine for its vast citizenry, other than waiting on the Federal Government. The state’s Commissioner for Health, Mrs. Damaris Osunkwo, who disclosed this to our correspondent in a telephone conversation, said: “Imo is not doing any other thing about the vaccine. The vaccine issue is a national issue, so we are relying solely on the Federal Government.” On their preparedness for the vaccination proper, the state’s Commissioner for Information, Declan Emelumba, said all was set for the state to receive COVID-19 vaccine. Emelumba said: “No fewer than 305 solar-powered refrigerators are ready for the vaccine’s cold chain storage medium. His Excellency, Governor Hope Uzodinma has since released funds for adequate training of medical personnel for the vaccination exercise.”

We are ready to vaccinate our people – Abiodun

Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has disclosed that the state has put in place adequate plans for safe storage and distribution of the state’s portion of COVID-19 vaccines. The governor made the disclosure on Thursday, during a meeting with the 20 Local Government Transition Chairmen, in Abeokuta, the state capital. Abiodun said: “Ogun State is fully ready to receive the COVID- 19 vaccines. We have put in place a solar Cold Chains in every Ward in the State. “We actually have more refrigerators than the number of wards that we have, so, we have those that are there right now and we have the back up as well, so, we are actually prepared.”

Edo still expecting vaccine-Perm Sec

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Edo State, Mr Osawonwi Irowa, has said the state is still expecting the much awaited vaccine to arrive He said: “We are still expecting the vaccine from the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja. They are supposed to deliver the vaccine to us for onward distribution to the people for vaccination. The modalities, logistics and training in Edo State is in progress pending delivery of the vaccine.”

‘Bayelsa still waiting’

Bayelsa State Commissioner for Health, Pabara Newton Igwele, said: “The Federal Government has not released that of Bayelsa State. The vaccine will be shared today (Friday) by the Federal Government. Until we get our own share, then we will know how to share it.”

Exercise’ll be under phases-Niger govt

In Niger State, the Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello and his Deputy, Ahmad Mohammed Ketso, will be the first to be vaccinated followed by high risk people. Speaking on the measures the government is putting in place to vaccinate the residents, Commissioner of Health and Hospital Services, Dr. Muhammad Makun Sidi, said the state has done the phases for which residents can be vaccinated. He said: “Now we have to work together to avoid fakeness. We have to align with the Presidential Task Force and the federal Ministry of Health, to coordinate the qualitative vaccines that are going to be brought into Niger state. So, we are working hand in hand with them.”

Kwara govt sets up working group

Kwara State has set up COVID-19 vaccine introduction Technical Working Group 3 weeks back. This is made up of several sub committees that would ensure a seamless roll out of the vaccines. Executive Secretary, Primary Health Care Agency, Dr. Nusirat Elelu, said: “In preparation to vaccinate, the state government is currently undertaking a two-day training for our local government officers on vaccine management and effective implementation. “This state training will be subsequently cascaded to the Ward level across the state. The Kwara State Government also has adequate Cold Chain equipment.

I don’t need the vaccine, says Gov Bello

As President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, take the lead today as they take the COVID – 19 vaccinations, the Kogi of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, yesterday stated that he is not taking the vaccine as he well and fine like a fiddle. He made this known when he featured on ‘Politics Today’, a Channels Television programme. Adding further that COVID – 19 is not the business of Kogi State. The governor, who has repeatedly denied the existence of the virus in his state, said COVID-19 is the “minute aspect” of what the state is currently addressing, adding that Kogi is tackling diseases like Yellow Fever and Lassa Fever, without much noise about its efforts. “COVID-19 is not our business in Kogi state. We have more prominent issues, more pertinent issues, more serious matters that we are attending to in Kogi State,” he said.

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