By Olawale Ajimotokan
The federal government said it expects to vaccinate about 109 million Nigerians over the next two years against COVID-19.
The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, made this disclosure yesterday in Abuja at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) briefing on COVID-19.
He noted that after excluding those that are under 18 years old, the government intends to give doses of vaccines to approximately 109 million Nigerians that will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination over the course of two years.
Shuaib stressed that Nigeria is hoping to receive about 57million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility and the African Union (AU) while in addition, the Federal Government has received a commitment of 1.5 million and 100,000 doses of OxfordAstraZeneca from MTN and India respectively.
He said that the eligible populations have been identified using the WHO vaccine allocation framework and prioritization roadmap, as well as the disease burden data from the NCDC.
He listed them as 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.
Priority will also be accorded to people aged 50 years and above; people aged 18-49 years with significant co-morbidities and additional at-risk groups.
“In order to facilitate the implementation process, the TWG has 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.
“The TEACH approach entails, Traditional method of vaccinating target populations using desk review of available data sources, identifying the vaccination sites and rolling out; Electronic self-registration for health workers and the public; a link which provides an online form will be provided; Assisted electronic registration;
concomitant e-registration during a walk into fixed sites/health facilities, and House-to-House registration using volunteers for an additional push to rapidly increase the e-registration,” he said.
Faisal added that the Federal Government working with state government plans to vaccinate all eligible population from 18 years and above, including pregnant women. He said 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).”
He added that with the over 60,000 health workers providing routine immunization services nationwide, government recognize that the COVID-19 vaccine introduction certainly requires capacity building for this health workforce, but in addition to these, the government would be engaging additional personnel, to achieve the coverage level we desire and also ensure best practices in vaccine handling and management.