COVID-19: Almost two years after rollout, Nigeria vaccinates only 25% of eligible population – Official – Premium Times

COVID-19 vaccination [PHOTO CREDIT: @UNICEF_Nigeria]
About 17 months after the rollout of vaccination against the rampaging coronavirus pandemic, the Nigerian government has said only about 27 million eligible persons have been fully vaccinated.
The Executive Director of the National Primary HealthCare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja at the flag-off of the SCALES 3.0 strategy.
Mr Shuaib said the country’s vaccination coverage has progressed from about 17 million to 40 million for the first dose as of 8 August.
He noted that the number of eligible persons who are fully vaccinated currently stands at 27,703,573.
“Therefore, the proportion of the total eligible population that have been vaccinated in Nigeria is 25 per cent,” he said.
To achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, Nigeria had set an ambitious goal of vaccinating 40 per cent of its over 200 million population before the end of 2021, and 70 per cent by the end of 2022.
This is based on recommendation from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Speaking ahead of the vaccine roll out in 2021, Mr Shuaib had said about 40 per cent will be vaccinated in 2021, while the remaining 30 per cent will be covered in 2022.
To vaccinate 70 per cent of Nigeria’s estimated 200 million population means 140 million people would have received their full doses by the end of the year.
But with only about 27 million persons vaccinated so far, Nigeria may not meet its set target.
Nigeria is not the only country left behind in the COVID-19 vaccination race. According to WHO, only two African countries, Mauritius and Seychelles, have fully vaccinated 70 per cent of their population as of the end of June.
Mr Shuaib said the country has recorded increased vaccination rates largely due to the optimised SCALES 2.0 strategy launched in February this year, to ramp up integrated COVID-19 vaccination and Primary Healthcare services.
He, however, said a strategic review has shown that there has been a low COVID-19 risk perception which needs to be overcome.
He said various states’ performance analyses also show that there are important state-specific bottlenecks that must be addressed in their various contexts for the country to witness improved vaccine uptake.
“It is for these reasons, among others, that the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 and the Federal Ministry of Health through the NPHCDA have come up with SCALES 3.0,” he said.
He explained that SCALES 3.0 is an evidence-based update that fixes the bugs in SCALES 2.0 and uses human-centre demand generation design to address low COVID-19 risk perception in the country.
Mr Shuaib said the strategy retains integration of COVID-19 vaccination with other PHC services, but uses an implementation approach that seeks to address bottlenecks on service delivery, communication, accountability, and logistics.

To tackle issues of service delivery, the executive director said SCALES 3.0 will operate on focused campaign mode with mobile and special teams taking vaccines to where people live and work.
He said this will address the operational issues with the fixed posts, temporarily fixed posts, and mass vaccination sites that were observed in SCALES 2.0.
He said SCALES 3.0 supports timely logistics and payment of vaccination teams that have achieved thresholds and targets.
“What this simply means is that SCALES 3.0 will not only be tracking vaccination activities, detecting and promptly addressing inappropriate and fraudulent activities using our Joint Task Force, but will also be implementing a carefully designed performance-based incentivising mechanism to encourage accountability and superior performance,” he said.
In his remarks, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said Nigeria has continued to experience changes in the factors that influence demand and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines.
Mr Mustapha said these changing situations vary from state to state and therefore require continuous review of strategies for promoting demand and ensuring vaccine access and accountability.
He said the present record of fully vaccinated Nigerians leaves much to be desired
“The SCALES 3.0 strategy will address the identified implementation gaps in SCALES 2.0 and bring about more accountability for performance, strengthen electronic data reporting and promote robust demand generation at the community levels,” he said.
He noted that there is a significant decline in COVID-19-related deaths as a result of the ongoing vaccination.
“We should not lower our guard or give in to complacency as the virus is still very much around and can mutate. We must encourage all around us to get vaccinated.”
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Nike Adebowale covers the health beat.  She holds a degree from Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti. Twitter: @nikeadebowale1 
All content is Copyrighted © 2022 The Premium Times, Nigeria
All content is Copyrighted © 2022 The Premium Times, Nigeria

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