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COVID-19: We must prevent uncontrolled outbreak of Indian variant, FG tells Nigerians

The Federal Government has advised Nigerians to avert an uncontrolled outbreak of the Coronavirus B.1.617.2 variant, also known as the ‘Indian variant’, by strict and conscious adherence to all COVID-19 protocols and curfew guidelines.

Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, gave the advice on Tuesday in Abuja, during the weekly media briefing to update Nigerians on status of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Shuaib, who stressed that the COVID-19 vaccination remains the safest and most effective public health intervention to contain the pandemic, noted that keeping Nigeria safe was a collective responsibility of everyone, by ensuring they take both doses of the COVID-19 jab.

He said: “I want to encourage all Nigerians to remain vigilant. Each and every one of us must follow social distancing; mask wearing, and curfew guidelines.

“Significant concern remains about the threat posed by the Coronavirus B.1.617.2 variant, also known as the ‘Indian variant’, which is observed to be a highly contagious triple-mutant strain of the coronavirus.

“In England, cases of the variant have doubled in one week alone. It is very important that we take all the necessary precautions set out by the government to prevent an uncontrolled outbreak here in Nigeria.”

The NPHCDA boss revealed that thus far, 1,956,598 million targeted eligible Nigerians have been vaccinated with their first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, with frontline workers constituting 66 percent, health workers 22 percent, and the elderly 12 percent.

Dr. Shuaib, however, disclosed that thus far, 10,113 cases of adverse reactions in different stages have been recorded, with Cross River State presenting the highest records with 1,040 cases, followed by Kaduna (1,071), Lagos (796), and Yobe (555) while Kebbi State recorded the fifth highest cases with 525.

On relocation of people from states where they received the first dose, Dr. Shuaib disclosed that second doses of the vaccines could now be received at the nearest vaccination post, adding that the list of vaccination sites were on the NPHCDA’s official website.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative to Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo who commended Nigeria’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy, disclosed that other African countries were already looking up to Nigeria to learn how to roll out their vaccinations.

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