The Nigeria government on Thursday said it is yet to meet its target of vaccinating at least 70 per cent of the eligible population against the COVID-19 virus.
To achieve herd immunity against the virus which has claimed over 3,000 lives in Nigeria and millions of lives globally, the government had set an ambitious goal of vaccinating 40 per cent of eligible persons before the end of 2021, and 70 per cent by the end of 2022.
However, at the end of 2022, only about 50 per cent of eligible persons targeted for vaccination were fully vaccinated.
Speaking at a meeting of the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on PHC Delivery (NTLC) in Abuja, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, said the fight against COVID-19 is not over until the country achieves over 70 per cent vaccination coverage.
Mr Shuaib said as of 8 February, about 68 million persons, representing 57.8 per cent of eligible persons targeted for vaccination are fully vaccinated while about 11 million persons representing 11 per cent of the targeted population are partially vaccinated.
He said some states with support from key partners have vaccinated over 70 per cent of eligible persons. He noted that the role of traditional leaders in vaccination success and improved primary health care services cannot be overemphasised.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said gains made over the years in PHC service delivery and vaccination are largely attributed to the role of traditional leaders.
Mr Ehanire said with over 60 million eligible persons fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the country has made remarkable progress in the vaccination campaign.
“Although there is progress there are pockets of rejections of misconceptions about the vaccines.
“This only means that there are persons out there who are unaware of how vaccines work, hence there’s a need for us to strengthen sensitisation at the community level to ensure everyone gets vaccinated,” he said.
In his remark, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, said that the NTLC would continue to work closely with the ministry of health and the immunisation agency, NPHCDA.
Represented by the Emir of Shonga, Ndansua Yahaya, he said the review meetings are important towards exchanging ideas and that it would also provide an avenue to learn more.
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