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COVID: Lagos alerts to 4th wave, begins mass vaccination of residents

…only 2.9m Nigerians fully vaccinated - NPHCDA

The Lagos State government on Wednesday alerted residents to the possibility of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, as it flagged off mass vaccination targeting 4 million residents ahead of the festive season.

The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who launched the mass vaccination campaign at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, said it was to stave off the re-emergence of the viral infection. Residents of the state who are 18 years and above are eligible to be fully immunised with the COVID-19 vaccine.

The accelerated vaccine rollout is tagged: “operation count me in 4 million Lagosians vaccinated against COVID-19”. It is being undertaken by the state government in partnership with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).

Sanwo-Olu believed the mass vaccination campaign would help bolster the state’s response to the threat posed by the pandemic.

Sanwo-Olu said the joint committee set up by the Lagos State and NPHCDA to oversee the implementation of the campaign would be opening vaccination sites in high traffic locations as part of the strategies to expand vaccine access in underserved communities.

Read Also: COVID-19 in Lagos: Third wave kills 135 as infection rate hit 12.1%

COVID-19 in Lagos

Mobile vans, the governor added, would be deployed to move round boundary settlements in order to reach individuals in areas with limited access to health facilities.

“There is potential for the fourth wave of COVID-19, as our borders would be opened to all people coming into Lagos in December. To prevent the catastrophic events we witnessed in the previous waves, the state has developed a robust vaccination drive, leveraging on both the strengths we have in the public and private sectors of our healthcare system. In development of our strategy and counter-measures, we prioritise the protection of human lives and keeping our economy open for business.

“To mitigate against this potential damage that will further spread existing variants of COVID-19 in the State, and accelerate efforts towards herd immunity, the need for a different strategy became a front burner issue. This is what has culminated in the campaign targeting the full vaccination of 4 million Lagos residents before the end of December 2021. Once achieved, this will bring the state closer to reaching our promise to vaccinate 30 percent of our population within one year,” the governor said.

Since March when Lagos started its vaccination programme, Sanwo-Olu said the state had successfully vaccinated 800,000 residents with the first dose of Moderna vaccine and 310,000 persons fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

This, he said, brings the total number of residents vaccinated with the first dose of either AstraZeneca or Moderna to 1.2 million, and raises the number of fully vaccinated individuals to 550,000, which accounts for about 4 percent of the state’s population.

Akin Abayomi, the states commissioner for health, described the vaccination campaign as “ambitious”, saying the government had put in place two-pronged approach to prevent the fourth wave of the pandemic.

“The first step is to control the in-bound flight passengers and maintain adherence to all preventive measures that have been put in place, while the second step is to closely monitor the isolation of those coming from the red zone area,” Abayomi said.

Shuaib Faisal, the executive director, NPHCDA disclosed that only 2,950,232 Nigerians had been fully vaccinated, which is a far cry from reaching the target number for herd immunity.

“We have enough vaccines in storage to give many people the opportunity to get vaccinated. We now have the jabs, but we now need the arms,” he added.

The campaign kicked off with symbolic vaccination of one Okeke Onyeama, a private security guard, who was inoculated in presence of the governor and the NPHCDA boss.

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