The National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, has said that it planned to vaccinate approximately 109 million Nigerians that will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination over the course of 2 years.
The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, made the disclosure at the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 briefing, on Monday, in Abuja.
“We remain in anticipation of about 57million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility and the AU. Working with the States, the Federal Government plans to vaccinate all eligible population from 18 years and above, including pregnant women.
“However, the decision to vaccinate any pregnant woman will be made in consultation with her healthcare provider. There will be considerations of whether she is at high risk of contracting COVID-19 or not.
”She is likely to be at high risk for example, if she is a frontline health worker, a support staff or a first responder in the different spheres of the security architecture of our country.
“This guidance is based on the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE). After excluding those that are under 18 years of age, we plan to vaccinate approximately 109m Nigerians that will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination over the course of 2 years,” he said.
Mr Shuaib said that additionally, the Federal Government had received the commitment of 1,500,000 and 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca from MTN and Government of India respectively.
“These eligible populations have been identified using the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccine allocation framework and prioritization roadmap, as well as the disease burden data from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
“They are: the frontline healthcare workers, support staff; including those that work in high risk areas such as point of entry workers, rapid response teams, contact tracing teams, COVID-19 vaccination teams and strategic leadership.
“People aged 50 years and above and People aged 18 – 49 years, with significant co-morbidities and additional at-risk groups,” he noted.
The NPHCDA boss added that In order to facilitate the implementation process, the Technical Working Group (TWG), had come up with a strategy of pre-registration and scheduling of the target population to avoid over-crowding at vaccination posts.
“We have come up with a strategy called the TEACH approach, which will harness all the benefits of traditional, electronic, assisted and concomitant house-to-house registration to optimize the use of innovative technology.
“A URL link will be deployed for the electronic registration tool, which will be rolled out this week for healthcare workers, to register and appropriately schedule them for the COVID-19 vaccination,” he stated.
According to him, with the over 60,000 health workers providing routine immunization services nationwide, we recognize that the COVID-19 vaccine introduction certainly requires capacity building for this health workforce, but in addition to these, we would be engaging additional personnel, to achieve the coverage level we desire and also ensure best practice in vaccine handling and management.
He noted that consequently, the Federal Government through NPHCDA had developed a training manual for the COVID-19 vaccine introduction.
Mr Shuaib said that the manual outlined a comprehensive scheme and measures to identify and develop micro plans for the target population; the development of an effective, efficient and equitable vaccination delivery strategy, while ensuring vaccine security, management and accountability.
“The plan is to train healthcare workers, supervisors and monitors at all levels in the next one to two weeks,” he added.
Mr Shuaib also said that as part of the agency’s risk communication and demand generation strategy, it had organized a two-day training for over 1,500 LGA health educators and Community Orientation Mobilization Officers (COMOs) of the National Orientation Agency.
This was to enable them conduct community polling, track rumors and provided accurate information on COVID-19 vaccine to community members, he added.
“We also continued our sensitization meetings with a wide range of stakeholders, which include the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), the Soroptimist International, Nigeria group, and the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ).
“They have all shown remarkable willingness to advocate for the acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.
He reiterated that Nigerians should be rest assured that the Federal Government through the PTF on COVID-19 , was doing everything possible to mitigate the resultant complications of the COVID-19 on the health systems and economy.
“It is therefore important that we all collectively play our part and adhere to all the measures that are being rolled out to defeat this virus.
“On our part, we will continue to provide you with factual information about COVID-19 vaccine and the vaccination process as things evolve. As soon as we get information about vaccine availability timelines, you will also get the same information,” he stated.