Health care worker likely to be 1st to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria
Nigeria's vaccination campaign will commence once NAFDAC conducts final checks on vaccine doses received this week.
Government officials received 3.92 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, a donation from COVAX, the global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
The delivery of the vaccine is the first batch of a total of 16 million doses allotted to Nigeria through COVAX.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, said during an interview on Channels TV on Wednesday, March 3 the vaccine will be launched at the National Hospital on Friday.
Shuaib said the campaign will kick off as soon as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) conducts final checks on the doses delivered on Tuesday.
Speaking on the order of people that will be administered the vaccine, Shuaib reiterated that health care workers will be at the top of the list, followed by other frontline workers, strategic leaders, the elderly, and individuals with underlying health conditions.
"The first person in Nigeria who is going to be taking the COVID-19 vaccine is most likely a health worker that has been involved in treating Nigerians that have been infected by COVID-19," he said.
Shuaib said the rollout strategy for the vaccine is a hybrid of traditional and electronic, technology-backed method.
He said authorities plan to vaccinate Nigerians in a stress-free process that will include deploying mobile teams to the most remote areas.
He said the launch of an e-registration form for Nigerians to self-register will help the government sort out eligibility for the vaccine including by age, profession, underlying health conditions, closest health facilities, and most convenient time.
"By being able to identify some of these preferences, we avoid a situation where people are crowded in a room and increasing the tendency for people to contract the virus in the process of getting the vaccine," he said.
Over 2.3 million Nigerians in less than 24 hours registered for vaccination using the form which went live online on Monday, March 1.
Shuaib assured Nigerians that the vaccine won't be deployed in Nigeria until it has been determined by NAFDAC to be completely safe, noting that it has already been certified for use by the World Health Organisation (WHO) after a rigorous process.
He said the remaining 12 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses will arrive in batches between now and May.
He further noted that Nigeria has applied for the procurement of 41 million doses of additional vaccines comprising 22 million from Astrazeneca, and 18.4 million from Johnson & Johnson.
Those will be procured via the African Union (AU), with support from the private sector led by CACOVID, and start arriving Nigeria from March, across April, and May.
Shuaib also said a supplementary budget is being prepared for submission to the National Assembly to procure more vaccines for 2021 and 2022.
JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!
Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: