The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), has urged state governments to take advantage of the COVID-19 and Yellow fever vaccines dispatched to the states as Nigerians are preparing for the main Hajj operations.
Dr Bulama Garuba, NPHCDA’s Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, made the call on Monday in Abuja at the bi-weekly Ministerial Press briefing on COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Hajj 2022, the first in two years, is a Hajj with many peculiarities.
Ordinarily, Hajj arrangements would have reached a climax in Nigeria around this time, only waiting for appropriate stages of execution.
The first batch of 510 pilgrims from Borno State departed for Madinah and Mecca to commence the main Hajj rituals.
The pilgrims were transported in compliance with the COVID-19 and other diseases protocols.
Garuba said that this was done in accordance with the COVID-19 and other disease protocols of the Saudi government, which is a mandatory COVID-19 card and the yellow fever card for fully vaccinated citizens, while a mandatory Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is required for those not fully vaccinated.
According to him, as of June 19, 2022, in the 36 States and the FCT about 28,427,564 of the eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination, were partially vaccinated while 21,236,404 of eligible persons were fully vaccinated.
He said that the proportion vaccinated was 25.4 per cent of the total eligible persons targeted in the country.
He said that striving to vaccinate 70 per cent of the eligible population of every country remains essential for bringing the pandemic under control and Nigeria is working hard to ensure that its citizens have access to the life-saving vaccines.
According to him, “We will continue to work with all stakeholders, partners and communities to ensure an inclusive COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Nigeria.”
He said to improve access, the agency has integrated COVID-19 vaccination with routine immunization and other Primary Health Care (PHC) services.
“This means that parents and caregivers can take along their children when going for their COVID-19 vaccination as childhood vaccines have been prepositioned for vaccination of children against childhood killer diseases at health facilities and other COVID-19 vaccination sites.
“Also, PHC services such as blood pressure checks and assessment for diabetes are available for adults,” he said.
Garuba assured Nigerians that the vaccines administered by the Federal Government through NPHCDA under the guidance of the ministry were safe and effective against all variants of COVID-19, including the Omicron variants.
He, therefore, called on all eligible Nigerians, aged 18 years and above, to visit the nearest vaccination site, take their jabs and even revisit for a booster dose after six months after the second dose of AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer as the case may be, but after two months following the Johnson and Johnson vaccination.
“The Johnson and Johnson single-dose vaccine is available in all COVID-19 Vaccination Sites and designated Primary Health Care Centres. If you are 18 years and above and are yet to get vaccinated, visit vacsitefinder.nphcda.gov.ng to locate the nearest vaccination site to you,” he said.