By Joyce Remi-Babayeju
As the first consignment of much expected 4 million doses of the COVID- 19 AstraZeneca vaccine arrives Nigeria, Tuesday the Federal Government through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, yesterday in Abuja wooed Nigerians to accept the vaccines as it launched the T.E.A.C.H Strategy for COVID-19 vaccination and Electronic Management Data System for easy access to the vaccination administration.
Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib at the official launch yesterday said that with the T.E.A.C.H strategy and Electronic registration on the official website of https://nphcdaict.com.ng/publicreg gives every Nigeria the opportunity to be vaccinated at the own convenience is to ensure that no Nigerian is left behind.
Shuaib assured Nigerians that electronic management of Immunization data, EMID, system in Nigeria is a novel and easy way of having an all inclusive COVID-19 vaccination particularly to capture those living in the rural areas of the country to ensure that no Nigerian is left out. The e- registration of eligible persons is help identify challenges and teams would be sent out places where vulnerable are so they are not neglected from taking the vaccines.
Speaking on the T.E.A.C.H Strategy , Shuaib said that it is an indigenous Approach to COVID-19 vaccination for eligible Nigerians.
He explained the acronym of T.E.A.C.H strategy as T- Traditional vaccine Approach. E- Electronic self registration by eligible Nigerians. A- Assisted Electronic registration by eligible Nigerians. C- Concomitant vaccination alongside electronic registration and House- to- House electronic registration to ensure that no Nigerian is left out.
He however explained that the four million doses of vaccines which arrived today are for eligible Nigerians and it would be administered in four phases beginning from phase one with healthcare workers , Frontline workers, ports of entry (air, land, seaports), Military, COVID-19 Rapid Response team, Laboratory Network, Police and Petrol Station workers and strategic leaders.
The World Health Organization, WHO, Country Representative to Nigeria, Dr. Walter kazadi congratulated Nigeria for the vaccines importation efforts and noted that Nigeria has led an exemplary response to COVID-19, adding that with launch of this strategy will help to ensure that all Nigerians are vaccinated.
NAFDAC Director General, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye promised that the agency would ensure no falsification of the vaccines and also carry out pharmacovigilance to guide against adverse drug effect of the vaccines on Nigerians.
Professor Oyewole Tomori, Professor Virologist at the University of Ibadan said that in dealing with the virus , it is better to get natural immunity.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire who officially launched the T. E. A. C. H strategy said, ” Vaccination with safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a critical part of Nigeria’s strategy to counter the COVID-19 pandemic and stop transmission of the virus.”
We in Nigeria finally have the privilege of being able to join other countries in kick starting the immunization programme, which will prioritise, first those people most at risk of infection due to their exposure in the line of duty, as determined by available epidemiological data, Ehanire emphasized.
“Our goal is to introduce the COVID-19 vaccine in a phased and equitable manner, based on advice of the World Health Organization and the experience we observe other countries to have made, and ultimately vaccinating all eligible Nigerians within the next 2 years, to ensure herd immunity.”
The minister however said that in compliance with the World Health Organization directive on vaccination limit, persons of below 18 years are not eligible for the vaccines for now.
Until research and studies are completed on any possible effect on growing children or 18 years and below, except they have severe underlying illnesses where the benefits justify the risk, he said.