Since the vaccination campaign began last year, the federal government has claimed that only half of the country’s eligible population has been vaccinated.
However, it stated that clear plans are in place to reach the goal of vaccinating 56.8 million Nigerians (50 percent) by the first quarter of 2022.
Dr. Binta Bako, the manager of the COVID-19 Crisis Communication Centre, said in Abuja yesterday that Nigeria had received about 33 million doses of different types of COVID-19 vaccines since March 2021.
Bako gave an update on the vaccination campaign, saying, “We haven’t reached 50% of our target population; about four million people, or less than 50% of those who received their first dose vaccination, have received their second dose.”
Only Nasarawa and Jigawa states, according to Bako, have reached more than half of their target population.
She also stated that the booster dose was critical for optimal protection and should be administered six months after the second dose.
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According to Bako, the data collected did not take into account time intervals and was instead based on previous campaigns.
She also revealed that the country has been using Pfizer vaccine exclusively for booster doses since December 10, 2021, and has now begun using it for first and second doses as well.
Bako said the agency had identified some success factors that could be linked to states with high performance in the ongoing mass vaccination rollout, and that states with high performance were seen to have a high level of ownership in the government’s SCALES strategy for ramping up COVID-19 vaccinations.
According to the NPHCDA’s progress report, 11,594,316 people (9.8%) had received the first dose, 4,759,637 (4.3%) had received the second dose, and 155,278 had received the booster dose as of January 8, 2022.
Bako stated that lessons would be drawn from high-performing states, such as Nasarawa, that had implemented commendable initiatives in the future.
“In accordance with the NPHCDA’s strategy, a joint task force chaired by the Executive Secretary was immediately formed with members from NAPHDA, the State Security Services, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), and the State Ministry of Health,” he said.
Bako said that motorized rallies were held across the country’s local government areas as part of the strategy to increase vaccination rates.
She went on to say that there was also entertainment provided by local artists and comedians in tertiary institutions, motor parks, and all of the designated mass vaccination sites.
Bako also urged Nigerians who had already received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to return for the second.
Dr. Eunice Damisa, Director of Communication and Advocacy at the National Primary HealthCare Development Agency (NPHCDA), also spoke at the event, stating that the agency had expanded vaccine access, resulting in increased coverage and reduced hesitancy.
“We’re working with community gatekeepers across the country, such as traditional and religious leaders, to instill confidence in the vaccines’ efficacy among their followers.”
“The first and second doses are separated by a time interval. While we acknowledge that there are dropouts in terms of people failing to show up for the second dose when it is due,” she said.