The next step in Nigeria’s COVID-19 response will be dependent on health workers, says the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu.
Nigeria commenced its second phase of vaccination on Monday, and within the coming weeks, is expected to roll out over four million doses of the Moderna vaccine.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony which was held at the Federal Medical Centre in Jabi, Abuja, Dr Ihekweazu said healthcare workers are the ones who will play the next pertinent role in the nation’s response to the disease.
He said, “the next step of this will depend on healthcare workers, the distribution; and making the vaccines available to the last mile will depend on an incredible group of Nigerians that have been working hard for the last 18 months to deliver vaccines, test people, do contact tracing and treat individuals”.
While disclosing that the country’s treatment centres are filling up again, the NCDC boss said health officials are working tirelessly to beat the pandemic.
The NCDC boss commended the frontline officials for their efforts and urged them not to rest on their oars.
He also called on Nigerians to keep supporting health personnel as they deliver the vaccines nationwide. He asked the citizens to act responsibly as the second phase of the vaccination begins.
Phase II Begins
The second phase of the vaccination programme commenced days after the US donated over four million doses of the Moderna vaccine.
The flag-off ceremony was attended by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha
Others were the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; the Minister of State for Health, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora; and the Medical Director of the FMC, Professor Aliyu Ahmed.
The exercise was scheduled for August 10 but later postponed due to “purely administrative” reasons, according to Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed.
Apart from the over four million Moderna doses, the government has also taken delivery of 177,600 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
The single-shot J&J vaccine was acquired through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) with support from Afrexim bank.
The J&J vaccines are expected to be deployed in hard-to-reach areas, to eliminate the need for travel for a second dose.
Only about one percent of Nigeria’s population has been fully vaccinated, so far.