COVID-19 Vaccine Safe, Govs Assure Nigerians

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Kayode Fayemi

•FG delivers doses to 35 states
•We are ready to receive 100, 000 doses, says Kogi

Deji Elumoye, Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja

State governors have assured Nigerians of the safety of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and urged them not to boycott it.

In a communiqué yesterday at the end of their emergency meeting, the Chairman of the forum and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said the governors were committed to encouraging all eligible persons to take the vaccine.

The governors also encouraged the public to report any adverse effects noticed after the vaccination.
Fayemi said the governors certified the vaccine safe after they received a briefing from the COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group (CTAG) led by Prof. Oyewale Tomori.

He added that CTAG recommended that “Nigeria should continue to vaccinate all eligible persons with the AstraZeneca vaccine in line with the latest WHO recommendation as available evidence, including findings from research in which some CTAG members are involved, showed that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe.”

The governors also agreed to partner the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on curbing drug abuse among youths.

“Following a briefing from the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), on managing the drug crisis in the country, state governors committed to supporting the logistics and operational activities of NDLEA officials in their states, as well as programmes that will promote drug use prevention in the country.

“Given the high correlation between drug use and insecurity in the country, the forum will push for a greater role for NDLEA in Nigeria’s security fight, especially as it relates to combating drug abuse and the illicit trafficking of drugs,” the communiqué stated.

FG Delivers Doses to 35 states

Meanwhile, the federal government has so far distributed the vaccine to all states of the federation, except Kogi, for the ongoing immunisation.

The Executive Secretary of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Fiasal Shuaib, in a report presented yesterday to the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, said Kogi was yet to receive its consignment due to the non-repair of its cold chain store coupled with the state’s concerns around the contradictory information about the vaccine.

But the Kogi State Government has, however, offered to receive about 100,000 doses of the vaccine.

Shuaib, in his presentation, said the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had been co-opted to support the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on vaccine accountability to ensure the safekeeping of the vaccine.

He spoke on a plan to commence weekly record of a dashboard showing level and efficacy of the inoculation and stressed the need for tight security around the vaccines in the states to avoid hoodlums vandalising them.

He stated that the second tranche of the vaccine would arrive before the second dose of AstraZeneca intake is concluded.
The NEC also received an update from its ad hoc committee interfacing with the PTF on COVID-19 to ease the lockdown of the economy.

The briefing was delivered by the Chairman of the committee and Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, and the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu.
Also yesterday, the Kogi State Government said it was ready to receive about 100,000 doses of the vaccine.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Saka Haruna, told journalists in Lokoja, the state capital that arrangements had been concluded to receive the vaccine.

“So, on the issue of COVID-19 vaccine, I think by the end of today, the state’s preparedness would have been completed for the deployment to our cold store,” he said.
He attributed the delay in receiving the consignment the destruction of the state’s health facilities, including the store and refrigerators, during the EndSARS protest.

He added that the government has revived one of the cold stores for the storage of the vaccine.

“So, by the end of today, we will convey our readiness to NPHCDA for the deployment of the vaccine to the state. The required cooling would be maintained. We did not want a situation where the process will be broken in Kogi State. I think we have a better understanding with the Federal Ministry of Health, and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency has been very cooperative,” he stated.