The federal government has projected that it will receive about 55 million doses of vaccines by April 2022 to ensure that more Nigerians are vaccinated against the dreaded COVID-19.
The Chairman Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on Covid-19, Boss Mustapha made the disclosure on Monday when the PSC briefed reporters in Abuja.
He assured that with the delivery of doses of AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson vaccines, in addition to the expected delivery of Pfizer vaccines, there would be enough vaccines to go across the country.
Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation reiterated that the only way to survive the scourge was to be vaccinated, a fact he said had been reinforced by science and research.
He noted that although the global cases recorded have continued to decline to about four million cases weekly, the situation still calls for caution because the country and the world are not out of the woods yet.
“To ease travels for fully vaccinated Nigerians, we are exploring the principles of reciprocity between Nigeria and other nations. For the time being, Nigerians are advised to always carry their vaccination card details or barcode on their electronic devices for easy access especially for those travelling outside the country,” he said.
He also disclosed that the federal government has removed India from the list of countries affected by the travel restriction that was introduced on May 4 to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
He said India was removed from the list in view of the improved situation in that country.
In the light of the exemption of India, all non-Nigerian passport holders and non-residents who had travelled to the other countries on the restricted list – Brazil, Turkey and South Africa-in the last 14 days would be denied entry into Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Dr Faisal Shuaib has said there are efforts to implement the policy of vaccine mandate for all federal public workers in order to ensure workplace safety.
Shuaib who spoke on Monday at the PSC briefing said with the increasing number of cases of COVID-19 globally, some countries have been instituting vaccine mandates by asking workers to either present proof of vaccination or provide weekly COVID-19 PCR negative results in order to be allowed into public offices.
He stressed that it was only when eligible persons come out for vaccination and observe the non-pharmaceutical interventions that the country can achieve population immunity and prevent the vaccine from becoming a nuisance and threat.
He also disclosed that as of Monday, September 12, 2021, the country had attained a national average of 70.4 per cent utilisation of the 2,000,040 doses of Moderna vaccines it received.
According to him a total of 4,052,756 eligible persons had received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, comprising of 2,645,020 persons with the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and 1,407,736 eligible persons with the first dose of Moderna vaccine.
“Considering the rapid progress seen in the utilisation of Moderna vaccines, states have been guided not to exceed their 50 per cent utilisation rates for Moderna in order to reserve the second doses for all those already vaccinated.
“Most states have reached this percentage and priority is now focused on administering AstraZeneca vaccine as first dose vaccine in all states,” Shuaib said.
He warned against an attempt by anyone to produce, procure and sell fake Covid-19 vaccination cards, saying anyone caught illegally transacting would be apprehended and made to face the law.
He similarly warned that any state found to be condoning acts of corruption in relation to the distribution of vaccines and handling of vaccination cards sent to them will no longer be allocated vaccines.
Shuaib said it was the duty of the states to protect the vaccines and vaccination cards sent to them as well as ensure that the vaccines are administered in a safe and effective manner and are made free for all.
Shuaib further said: “A recent study by the United States Centre for Disease Control (USCDC) which examined 600,000 COVID-19 cases, revealed that people who were unvaccinated were about four and a half times more likely to contract COVID-19.
“It further showed that those who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 were eleven times more likely to die of the disease and ten times more likely to be hospitalised with the disease”
Shuaib also said that the agency has taken steps to ensure that the vaccines are administered in a safe and effective manner and are made free for all.
He said there is the need for the states to hold their health workers accountable and sanction any health official found carrying out activities contrary to the mandates set by the federal government.
According to him, any state found to be condoning these acts of corruption would no longer be allocated vaccines.
Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Olawale Ajimotokan