Double dose vaccine slowing Nigeria’s vaccination rate – Minister

Osagie Ehanire, Minister for Health, has expressed concern that the number of Nigerians who have been fully vaccinated is still very low because the country has been administering double dose vaccines.

The minister decried that most persons who have received their first dose are reluctant to take their second dose for various reasons including fear of a repeat of the mild side effects they may have experienced with the first dose.

The minister raised this concern during the launch of SCALES 2.0 strategy, which stands for Service delivery, Communication, Accountability, Logistics, Electronic Reporting, and Supportive Supervision to scale up COVID-19 vaccination organised by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).

Ehanire disclosed that as of 18th February, Nigeria has administered over 20million doses, representing over 18 percent of the 111,176,503 eligible population targeted for COVID-19 vaccination.

THE minister, however, assured that the federal government have over 30 million doses of teh Johnson and Johnson vaccine stock, which is a single-dose vaccine and urged Nigerians to show up for vaccination.

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“I call on all eligible persons that are yet to receive their vaccination to go to the nearest COVID-19 vaccination site and get vaccinated. This single-dose offers the same protection you get from two doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer Bio-N-Tech and Moderna vaccines,” Ehanire said.

The minister further informed that the launch of the SCALES 2.0 strategy become imperative as it entails the integration of COVID-19 vaccination with childhood routine immunization for eligible adults 18 years and above and children zero to two years respectively, leveraging Mass Vaccination Campaigns,

“This means that all childhood vaccination, including administration of vitamin A, will now be done alongside COVID-19 vaccination at COVID-19 vaccination sites. Eligible children will now be able to receive their BCG, Penta 3, OPV 3, OPV 1 & 2, Measles, Yellow Fever vaccines, as well as Vitamin A supplement, at the sites where the adults receive COVID-19 vaccines. This is the good news we are bringing to Nigerians today,” he said.

“We will continue to strengthen our vaccine security and accountability through the NPHCDA Joint Task Force on Vaccine Monitoring and Accountability.

“We will continue to engage with all stakeholders, partners, and communities, to ensure inclusiveness and transparency in decision making and other processes involved in COVID-19 vaccination and overall health care delivery in Nigeria,” he assured.