PTF: no COVID-19 vaccines for states without facilities

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Only states that have ready facilities and prepared will be given vaccines, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Management said yesterday.

The country is expecting the delivery of 3.92 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine today.

It is the first batch of the 129 million doses of vaccine the country is expecting to curb the spread of COVID-19.

No fewer than 70 per cent of Nigeria’s over 200 million population is targeted for vaccination between now and end of next year.

There will, however, be no vaccination for people under the age of 18 years.

Speaking at a news conference yesterday on the preparation for the distribution of vaccine and vaccination, the PTF said President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will be publicly vaccinated to give Nigerians confidence on the safety of the vaccine.

Governors, ministers, religious leaders and traditional rulers will also take jabs of the vaccine which the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has certified fit for use.

Executive Director/CEO of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, said: “Vaccine distribution to the states for the phase one vaccination process will begin. This phase is the vaccination of all frontline health workers, their supporting staff and strategic leaders.

“Deployment of vaccines to the states will be based on the assessment of their level of preparedness. Some of the parameters that will be used for the assessment includes adequate maintenance of cold chain storage facilities, adequate operation for logistics transportation to the ward and health facilities, adequate security in place during transportation and at the vaccination site, completion of training of health workers, efficient social mobilization activities in place, and adherence to protocol for vaccine deployment.

“Working with CACOVID, the private sector has made plans to transport the vaccines to the states by air. States without a functional airport will have their vaccines transported by road using vans fitted with cold chain cabins from the nearest airport in their states.

“The vaccines will be stored at the state cold store from where they will be transported by road to LGA cold stores. All of these cold stores will have security details to protect these valuable national assets. Once activities are commenced in the states, there will be strict monitoring by the Presidential Task Force, the Federal Ministry of Health, NCDC, NPHCDA, independent bodies such as the EFCC, DSS, ICPC and Civil Society Organisations, along with all the relevant line ministries.

“The states, health facility, and health workers that are identified as defaulting from the standard protocol and the guidelines for this phase one of this vaccination will be sanctioned.

“It is worthy to note that at each phase of the vaccination, the level of preparedness of the states will be assessed before vaccines are deployed. There will also be accountability measures put in place to ensure strict compliance to the vaccination process. If we are not careful, we will not be able to ensure that the vaccines reach those who critically need them the most.

He however noted that there is no fixed number of doses to be given to states at the moment.

Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, urged private organizations not to import vaccines into the country for now because the Federal Government is expecting enough vaccines to cater for Nigerians, with the option to increase supply if need be.

“All vaccines coming into Nigeria will arrive only by the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja. Arrival at any other airport will not be allowed and sure to be confiscated by Customs. It is important to have an orderly, disciplined rollout to avoid chaos in the immunization scene,” he said.

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