Nigeria’s federal government has disclosed that about 130 cases of Circulating Vaccine-derived Poliovirus type 2 (cVPV2) variant were detected in 47 local government areas across 16 states of the country as at September this year.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Fraisal Shuaib who disclosed this at the quarterly review meeting of the northern traditional leaders’ committee on primary health care delivery held in Abuja, said following the detection, the agency has commenced outbreak response campaigns in the affected 12 northern States.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Vaccine-derived poliovirus is a well-documented strain of poliovirus mutated from the strain originally contained in oral polio vaccine (OPV).
OPV contains a live, weakened form of poliovirus that replicates in the intestine for a limited period, thereby developing immunity by building up antibodies.
The virus is transmitted by person-to-person, mainly through the fecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and cause paralysis.
Speaking on the reemergence of Vaccine-drived Poliovirus in parts of the country, Shuaib said, “As at 23 September, 2022, 130 cVPV2 have been detected in 47 local government Areas across 16 states.
“Although this is about 82 per cent reduction compared to the same period in 2021 when we had 711 cVPV2, this is still worrisome as we are witnessing breakthrough transmissions in two states namely Sokoto and Zamfara,” he said.
The NPHCDA Boss said there was the need to further strengthen community engagement as the risk of polio was still very much with us.
He explained that, “apart from the fact that we are still contending with the challenge of cVPV2, the re-emergence of WPV in some African countries shows that all countries are vulnerable until the virus is totally eradicated worldwide.”
Shuaib told the traditional rulers that the country has made some modest achievements such as the eradication of the Wild Poliovirus (WPV) and the steady progress in routine immunisation and COVID-19 vaccination.
He added the achievement would not have been possible without the leadership, commitment and sacrifices of the royal fathers.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that your voices amplified the aspirations and interests of the people at the grassroots level. For over a decade, you have been on this journey with us. Let me assure Your Eminence and Royal Highnesses, that we will mever take your support and commitment for granted,” he said.
Shuaib also spoke on progress at the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaign, saying that, “As of 4th October 2022, the number of persons who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the country is 41,269,072 or 37 percent of the total eligible population in Nigeria.”
He said over 350,000 Nigerians were being vaccinated against COVID-19 every day.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire while commending efforts of the traditional rulers in supporting vaccination campaign, said so far Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Nasarawa have met 70 per cent target of fully vaccinated eligible population
“Let me use this opportunity to therefore assure all eligible Nigerians that we have enough vaccines for first, second and even booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines across all states in the country.
“Your Royal Highness, this is urge you to continue to encourage our people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and other vaccine preventable diseases as NPHCDA has integrated all these services to ensure that every vaccination site serves as a one stop site for the vaccination of the entire family.
“We need to quickly increase coverage across all states to achieve our national target of vaccinating at least 70 per cent of eligible populations 18years and older.
“I want to specially commend Nasarawa, Jigawa, Kano and Kaduna States who have the highest fully vaccinated persons and have reached the 70 per cent target of fully vaccinated eligible population for COVID-19.
“I urge other states to emulate these states to enable the country build immunity against COVID-19 and reach the desired national coverage,” he said.
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja