*State yet to repair cold-chain store
Thirty-five of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory have received their respective doses of COVID-19 Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines. The only state that has not received its doses of the vaccine is Kogi, as the state is yet to repair its cold-chain store where the vaccine would be kept.
Disclosing this on Wednesday during a presentation to National Economic Council (NEC), the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Fiasal Shuaib, also noted the state’s concerns around the contradictory information about the vaccines.
“All States except Kogi have received their vaccines, noting that Kogi State was yet to receive due to the non-repair of their Cold-Chain Store coupled with the State’s concerns around the contradictory information about the vaccines,” Shuaib said.
It could not be ascertained whether Kogi State deliberately failed to repair its Cold-chain store, but the state governor, Yahaya Bello, has consistently doubted the existence of COVID-19 and had repeatedly claimed that the infectious virus was not in the state.
During the COVID-19 lockdown last year, the Yahaya Bello administration even refused to allow the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to carry out COVID-19 tests in the state.
In a statement issued by the by Senior Special Assistant to the President, Office of the Vice Pressident, Mr. Laolu Akande, the NPHCDA boss said, “The vaccination application has been launched in most States’ Treatment Centres even against distractions and criticism of the FG’s efforts to ensure availability of vaccines in the Nation.
“The roll-out of the vaccines across Healthcare Front-line Workers and other Health Support Staff was scheduled to commence by March 15, 2021, in some States, with the intention of wider coverage after the training of the States’ Health workers across board.”
The statement said to ensure accountability in the distribution of the vaccines, Shuaib informed NEC that “the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had been co-opted to support the PTF on Vaccine Accountability to ensure the safekeeping of the vaccines.”
“There was a need for tight security around the vaccines in the states to avoid being vandalized by hoodlums. Meanwhile, there was a plan to commence weekly record of a dashboard showing level and efficacy of the inoculation by the end of Monday, March 15, 2021,” the NPHCDA boss said.
He also assured that the second tranche of the vaccines would be received in the country before the second dose of the vaccines intake was concluded.
The NEC meeting also received an update from the National Economic Council (NEC) ad hoc committee interfacing with the presidential taskforce on COVID-19 to ease the lockdown of the economy. The update was provided by the Chairman of the Committee and Governor Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, and the Director-General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu.
The NEC urged Nigerians to participate in the vaccination when it is their turn.
It also welcomed the integration of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to support the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on vaccine accountability and transparency.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN who chaired the meeting, commended NPHCDA for smooth coordination of the nationwide distribution of the vaccines.
State governors, Central Bank of Nigeria governor, ministers, and hads of government agencies and parastatals, participated in the virtual meeting.