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COVID-19 vaccination: NPHCDA’s leadership intervention

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Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr. Dr. Faisal Shuaib


Sir: Notwithstanding heightened division in opinion, negative propaganda and the deepening conspiracy theory against COVID-19 vaccine, Nigeria took delivery of 3.92 million doses of the vaccine on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.The delivery marked the first arrival of COVID-19 vaccine in the country and make Nigeria the next West African country to benefit from the COVAX Facility after Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

The arrival of the vaccine enabled the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) under Dr. Faisal Shuaib, executive director/ CEO, to commence the vaccination of Nigerians in priority groups, starting with frontline healthcare workers.

The delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine is part of an overall 16 million doses planned to be delivered to Nigeria in batches over the next months by the COVAX Facility, as part of an unprecedented global effort to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The COVAX Facility is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), with UNICEF as a key implementing partner.

The likely set back to the seamless administration of COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria now is the manufacturing and circulation of fake coronavirus vaccines by the evildoers. Recently, Nigeria’s National Agency for Food Drug and Administration Control (NAFDAC) was blunt that it has not approved any local COVID-19 vaccine as bandied in public and the varieties of fake COVID-19 vaccines in circulation are responsible for the “COVID-like illnesses or other serious diseases that could kill” in people who have used it.

That’s why it is advisable to take Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines only in government designated medical facilities or institutions. Oxford AstraZeneca which is in use in Nigeria is rated as one of the best from the fleet principally because it has the potency to also boost human immune system.

It is a thing of exceeding joy that for the several weeks Nigerians are being inoculated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, no single incident of post-inoculation health complications to date. It is the worthiest proof of its efficacy and health guarantee. No wonder more volunteers are coming out to mobilise Nigerians for the vaccination.

And most pleasurably, the seamless distribution of the vaccine across the country by the NPHCDA in record time is an apt indication that things can rightly be done in the right manner in Nigeria under the right leadership. Dr. Shuaib has symbolised this leadership.

Today, some of these earlier anti-vaccine activists are singing praises of the NPHCDA. With good leadership, nothing is impossible. Truly, leadership is what Nigeria need and that is all Nigerians cry for on a daily basis. The Nigerian government plans to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of eligible Nigerians aged 18 years and above in four phases within two years.
Bukola Olasanmi wrote this piece from Abuja.

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