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Benue begins COVID-19 vaccination

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Benue State Government has commenced vaccination of its citizens against the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

Flagging off the exercise yesterday at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH), Makurdi, Governor Samuel Ortom called on the people to voluntarily present themselves for vaccination.

Ortom, who was represented by the Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr. Joseph Ngbea, also urged the citizens to be available to take the second dose in 12 weeks’ time.

“As we take the vaccine, we must also continue to observe COVID-19 prevention protocols, including frequent hand washing, use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers, maintenance of physical distance and use of face masks,” he said.

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While expressing worry that despite efforts made to contain the disease across the globe, the virus has continued to spread at unprecedented speed affecting the most vulnerable group, Ortom stressed the need for aggressive response and improved efforts to contain the infection.

He stated: “Vaccination with safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a critical part of Nigeria’s strategy to interrupt the pandemic and curb transmission of the virus.

“Benue government is passionate about the health of its citizens and will continue to provide counterpart funding for all activities aimed at attaining the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR) strategy.”

According to him, in line with the commitment, the state’s health insurance scheme will be operational the second quarter of 2021 for free treatment of the vulnerable across 277 wards through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

“In the same way, the permanent office complex for the Benue State Primary Health Care Board has been completed to provide conducive environment for smooth operations of the board to achieve her mandate of coordination of PHC in the state for the attainment of UHC.”

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He acknowledged the role of health workers, especially Benue COVID-19 Action Committee team led by the Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, and other partners.

Ngbea intimated that 73,810 vaccines were sent to the state, which is just a drop in the ocean, adding that they had been distributed to the 23 local councils.

Executive secretary of the board, Dr. Bem Ageda, said the board had already put in place 133 teams in the first phase of the exercise and would cover all the 23 local councils and wards in the state.

According of him, general and teaching hospitals, military and paramilitary health institutions as well as health care centres in the state will serve as vaccination centres.

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