COVID-19: Nigeria to adopt “the whole family” integration vaccination approach

Gloria Essien, Abuja

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The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), says it will be adopting “the whole of family” approach to integrate the COVID-19 vaccination with other basic Primary Health Care (PHC) services such as childhood vaccination, screening for hypertension among others, in the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination.

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The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said this at a press briefing, in Abuja.

He said that the approach would ensure that while protecting eligible Nigerians against COVID-19, the agency also focuses on the total health of the individual and their entire family.

He also said that it would further enhance acceptability of the COVID-19 vaccine across the country.

We are adopting “the whole family approach” to integrate the COVID-19 vaccination with other basic PHC services such as childhood vaccination, screening for hypertension, diabetes, malnutrition. We will give residents another opportunity to listen to NPHCDA,State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA) and the State Ministry of Health (SMoH), to listen to how they can improve on personal hygiene, water and environmental sanitation, this is particularly important in view of the large number of cases of cholera that we are reporting across the Country,” Dr Shuaib said.

He also disclosed that there had been a meeting with the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control,(NAFDAC), Dr. Mojisola Adeyeye to finalize discussions on how to continue the collaboration that led to effective vaccine monitoring and accountability that was obtained in the first phase of the vaccination roll out.

He added that this was effected using track and trace, an innovative approach first used in Nigeria during the first COVID-19 vaccination roll out.

This is why when we had said we had finished the first phase of the vaccination on the July 9, it was that there were no vaccines available anywhere and this kind of accountability is what we want to replicate in the phase 2 of the vaccination rollout. This as a result of the leadership provided by the Presidential Steering Committee, (PSC), FMOH, NAFDAC, NCDC and of course the NPHCDA,” he said.

He noted that this means that the agency was locally creating labels for the vaccines barcode that would ensure that this tracking and tracing continues just like it did in the first phase.

Consequently, we want to call on all Nigerians to remain assured that the vaccines that we have are safe and will be deployed next week as earlier communicated. The flag off and roll out of the second phase of the COVID-19 Vaccination program will be done on August 16th, 2021,Dr”  Shuiab said.

 

The Executive Director said that while the agency was hopeful and well prepared to roll out the second Phase of the vaccination plan, it was by no means oblivious of the fact that there were challenges ahead, especially now that the country had started receiving different brands of COVID-19 vaccines.

“We are aware that Nigerians would want to know if there is a preferred brand. Let me assure everyone that COVID-19 vaccines, regardless of brand, as long as they have been approved by NAFDAC, provide adequate protection against the disease. We want to further assure Nigerians that we have strategized with our partners so that there is no confusion on which vaccines will be given to whom.

For example, all those who have taken their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccines and are due for their 2nd dose would be given their second dose in this month of August as we are expecting up to 588,800 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the COVAX facility.

“This is the first batch that will be coming in the next couple of days, thereafter we will be expecting up to 3.9million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines to complement what we already have and to make sure we cover not only those who will be taking their second AstraZeneca vaccine but also for those who will want to take their 1st dose of this vaccine.

“In all communications, we have been clear that the AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines are very effective against the Delta variant as cases are beginning to increase in States like Lagos and Akwa Ibom,” he explained.

“Those who have received AstraZeneca as first dose should receive AstraZeneca as second dose, while those who will receive Moderna as first dose will receive Moderna as second dose when due. In a few days, we will take delivery of an additional AstraZeneca vaccine and those who are due for a second dose of the vaccine will be prioritized.

Most brands of COVID-19 vaccine require two doses of varying intervals between the doses for full protection. Moderna is two doses, four weeks apart; Oxford AstraZeneca is two doses with six to 12 weeks apart; and Pfizer is two doses, three weeks apart.

“However, brands such as Johnson and Johnson that we are receiving tomorrow, require a single dose for full protection against the virus. The initial dose that we will be receiving will be focused on those who are in the hard-to-reach areas (riverine areas, desert areas) and the elderly because they are people who may find it difficult to leave their homes to the health facility for a second dose vaccine,” he explained.

He therefore urged Nigerians to ensure they complete their doses for full protection.

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