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Five things to know about Nigeria’s COVID-19 vaccination drive

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Nigeria on Tuesday took delivery of the 3.92 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine.

The country will be the third West African country to take delivery under the COVAX scheme, after Ghana and Ivory Coast.

The most populous country in Africa is expected to take the delivery of additional 16 million doses from COVAX, in coming months. COVAX is a facility for poor and middle-income countries co-led by Gavi, the vaccine alliance, and the World Health Organization, with UNICEF as an implementing partner.

Nigeria’s COVID-19 confirmed cases has risen to 156,017 including 1,915 deaths, according to an update by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Monday night.

Here is what to know about the countries vaccination process.

Registration
On Monday, Nigeria launched an online registration portal for COVID-19 vaccinations.

“We have provided an e-registration link to enable Nigerians register for the #COVID19Vaccine themselves, obtain their pre-vaccination numbers and schedule their preferred date and time for vaccination,” National Primary Health Care Development Agency boss Faisal Shuaib said.

Shuaib said the website was launched with respect to the “T.E.A.C.H. Strategy: An Indigenous Approach to #COVID19 Vaccination in Nigeria.”

T.E.A.C.H stands for Traditional Vaccination Campaign Approach; Electronic Self-Registration by Eligible Nigerians;; Assisted Electronic Registration of Eligible Nigerians; Concomitant Vaccination alongside Electronic Registration and House-to-House Electronic Registration.

“To register for #COVID19 Vaccination, visit our website and click on ‘COVID-19 Vaccination e-registration,” National Primary Health Care Development Agency tweeted on Monday.

“Those who can’t fill the Vaccination and Electronic Management of Immunization Data (EMID) will be assisted, and for those who don’t have access to the EMID house-to-house registration will be carried out to get them on the database for vaccination using T.E.A.C.H,” Shuaib said.

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Priority of vaccination
The Nigerian government has several times noted that healthcare workers and other “frontline workers” including the military, police, Nigerians at border posts, oil and gas workers, and strategic leaders would be prioritised to receive the jabs.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would be the first recipients of the vaccine. They are both expected to receive the vaccine in the open.

The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, who explained the rationale behind the decision said it would encourage people and let them know that the vaccine is safe.

Although Mamora did not give a specific time  when President Buhari would be vaccinated.

Distribution
According to NPHCD, the vaccines would be rolled-out in four phases in the next two years.
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The first phase of the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine would target health workers, frontline workers, COVID-19 rapid response team, laboratory network, policemen, petrol station workers and strategic leaders.

Phase 2 – Older adults aged 50 years and above. Those with co-morbidities aged 18 – 49 years of age.

Phase 3 – Those in states/LGAs with high disease burden and who missed phases 1 and 2.

Phase 4 – Other eligible population as vaccines become available. They will need to be scheduled for the vaccination by filling the EMID and those who are not health workers will.

The government is expected to vaccinate 40% of the country’s population by the end of 2021.

Financing
Finance minister Zainab Ahmed stated that Nigeria will draw up a supplementary budget in March to cover the cost of Covid-19 vaccinations, for which no provision was made in the 2021 finance bill adopted in December.

Ahmed noted that the cost of buying and distributing vaccines was not included in the 13.6 trillion naira 2021 budget, she said ministers were working with health authorities on a plan to be approved by the president and then lawmakers.

“We are already releasing money to the health authority to start operation in the first batch of vaccines that is going to arrive the country in one week,” Ahmed told reporters after meeting Buhari last Thursday.

She also said Nigeria is yet to conclude a $1.5 billion loan agreement with the World Bank because of disagreements on exchange rate reforms.

The World Bank has said Nigeria needs to strengthen reforms to its naira currency before it can approve the loan.

Storage
Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF and Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce PTF on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha said all the vaccines Nigeria is expecting from COVAX facility would be AstraZeneca which has a good range in terms of “storage for us because it uses +2 to +8 per cent of refrigeration.”

Mustapha explained that Nigeria has another source of vaccine coming from the African Vaccination Action Team through which 41 million doses of AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are expected.

“We already have that cold chain available in all the local governments and wards in this country. I believe we are well prepared to receive the vaccines and I hope that they keep to this time frame they have given us, we are eagerly expecting the vaccines,” Mustapha said.

 


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