At least, 440,000 healthcare workers have received their first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria, an official has said.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this during a media briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.
Mr Shuaib said the 440,000 health workers represent 23 per cent of people that have received first shots of COVID-19 vaccines.
He also said 1,929,237 Nigerians representing 96 per cent of the targeted population have so far been vaccinated against the virus which has claimed over 3 million lives globally and over 2,000 lives in Nigeria.
Shuaib said the administering of second doses of the vaccine have also begun and over 4,000 people have received theirs.
“Those individuals currently eligible for second doses will have received their first dose 6 to 12 weeks ago,” he said.
He urged all Nigerians to receive the second dose of the vaccine to gain full protection against the virus.
Nigeria commenced vaccination of its citizens against COVID-19 on March 5, beginning with healthcare workers.
Healthcare workers are often at risk of exposure to infections, including COVID-19, as they are the first responders to patients.
Cyprian Ngong, a medical doctor, was the first person to receive a jab of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines in Nigeria. Three other health workers also received jabs during the flag-off event in March.
To achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, Nigeria had set an ambitious goal of vaccinating 40 per cent of its over 200 million population before the end of 2021, and 70 per cent by the end of 2022.
The vaccination exercise will be done in four phases, according to the NPHCDA boss.
“About 70 per cent of the total population needs to receive the COVID-19 vaccines to completely eradicate the virus,” Shuaib said in January ahead of the vaccine rollout.
Mr Shuaib said about 40 per cent will be vaccinated in 2021, while the remaining 30 per cent will be covered in 2022.
Everybody will be vaccinated
Speaking at the briefing, a representative of the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, said there were ongoing efforts to get vaccines to hard-to-reach areas in Nigeria.
“Nobody is safe until everybody is vaccinated. We can not underestimate the steps taken and the challenges ahead,” Mr Hawkins said.
He also urged governors, traditional and other leaders to encourage their people to come out and be vaccinated for the safety of all.
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