As Nigeria continues to report new COVID-19 cases, more people are getting vaccinated against the virus which has claimed over 3 million lives globally and over 2,000 lives in Nigeria.
“As of today, April 20, 1,114, 408 eligible Nigerians have so far been vaccinated with first dose of COVID-19 vaccine,” a Tuesday update by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) shows.
According to the data published Tuesday night, Lagos, the epicentre of the disease in Nigeria, has vaccinated 209,734 people; making it the highest in the country.
This is followed by Kano with 58,749, Kaduna-57,241, Ogun-53,286 and FCT with 50,541 vaccinated people.
Nigeria commenced COVID-19 vaccination on March 5 after receiving 3.94 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine through COVAX, a UN-backed effort that promises access to free vaccines for up to 20 per cent of participating countries’ population.
The delivery is part of an overall 16 million doses planned to be delivered to Nigeria in batches over the next months.
The country received another 300,000 doses of the Astrazeneca vaccine from telecom giant MTN and additional 100,000 doses of Covishield COVID-19 vaccines from the Indian government.
The Covishield is a brand of the Astrazeneca vaccine.
The current phase of vaccination covers health workers and other frontline workers although Nigerians from other groups are also getting vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of NPHCDA, Faisal Shuaib, said inoculation of frontline health workers in some states is completed, and attention has shifted to older adults, aged 65 and above.
“We have been careful to ensure that only those who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the current phase are being vaccinated.
“These include health workers and their support staff, other frontline workers, strategic leaders and in the last few days, we have also included those who meet the age requirements,” he said.
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.
With only about 4.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines available in the country, health analysts say Nigeria may not meet its target
Due to limited doses of vaccine availability, the Nigerian government directed states to halt vaccination once they use half of the doses allocated to them.
The Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, said the directive became necessary since the country was not sure when next batch of AstraZeneca vaccines would arrive the country.
“We believe that in a situation where, we still cannot specifically determine when the next batch of AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive, then I think wisdom only dictates that it is better for us to vaccinate people fully,” Mr Mamora had said.
“And so that we can say that we have a pool of citizens that have been fully vaccinated since this vaccination comes in two doses.”
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