Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has launched a state-wide Mass Vaccination Campaign against the COVID-19 virus as part of efforts aimed at mitigating the potential damage that the further spread of the COVID-19 virus may cause.
The campaign targeted at ensuring that four million residents of the state are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the end of the year was spurred by the need for Lagos to achieve herd immunity against the global pandemic and in furtherance of the quest to eliminate opportunities for the COVID-19 virus to spread in Lagos communities.
Speaking during the flag-off ceremony of the vaccination campaign tagged: “Count me in! 4 million Lagosians Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Campaign’ held on the sidelines of the 7th African Conference on One Health and Biosecurity at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Sanwo-Olu noted that the Mass Vaccination Campaign which commenced Wednesday 27th October 2021 will run till Saturday, December 25th, 2021.
He stated that the mass vaccination campaign is in tandem with his promise and mandate to vaccinate 30% of the Lagos population within the next one year, adding that if the target vaccination of four million residents is achieved, the state will be closer to reaching its promise to vaccinate 30% of the population within one year.
Sanwo-Olu averred that his administration realized quickly the role of vaccination in mitigating the third wave. He noted that based on the availability of COVID vaccines and in alignment with the Federal mandate, Lagos commenced the COVID-19 vaccination campaign on the 15th of March 2021 with the first phase targeting health workers and frontline workers.
“This first phase saw the vaccination of 400,000 persons with at least the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine received from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and 250,000 persons were also fully vaccinated with the first and second dose of the vaccine”, he said.
According to the Governor, Lagos State is currently in the second phase of the vaccination campaign and presently, the State has successfully vaccinated a total of 800,000 people with the first dose of the Moderna and a total of 310,000 persons fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“This has brought the State to a total number of individuals vaccinated with the first dose of either AstraZeneca or Moderna to 1.2 million and fully vaccinated individuals to 550,000 accounting for just about four per cent of the target population.
“With a full understanding that a substantial proportion of the population will need to be vaccinated to reduce the impact of the ongoing spread of the COVID-19 virus and prevent the re-emergence of the catastrophes witnessed during the previous waves by a potential fourth wave, the State has developed a robust vaccination strategy leveraging on both the strengths we have in the public and private sectors of our healthcare system”, he said.
While noting that one of the major driving forces in the development of the State COVID-19 strategy is the protection of the economy, Sanwo-Olu said that the State government will continue to implement countermeasures to ensure that the economy of the State is open for business.
The Governor disclosed that Lagos State and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), will be partnering with the private sector in this mass vaccination campaign against COVID19 stressing that this strategic decision of partnering with the private sector stemmed from the huge successes recorded by State government in various strategies that have been deployed in the management of the COVID pandemic in partnership with the private sector.
Sanwo-Olu noted that whilst the administration of the COVID vaccines remains free in public health facilities, an administrative cost will apply to residents who choose to receive the vaccine at approved private facilities of their choice.
He said: “Leveraging on private health facilities and corporate institutions as additional sites for the COVID-19 vaccination, it is our hope that we increase the reach and access to the available vaccines provided through the generous contributions and donations by the Federal Government and our donors. By doing this, we are once again recognizing the impact of the collaboration between the public and private sector for healthcare and strengthening the link for far-reaching initiatives in the State.
“At this point, it is imperative to emphasize that the vaccines administered in our public facilities would remain free to the public. However, whilst the vaccines remain free as they were contributed to us by the Federal Government through the NPHCDA and our donors, a charge of N6,000 has been approved for relevant stakeholders in the administration of the vaccines in the private sector.
“This is to allow the private sector to recoup the resources they have deployed in the process of administering this vaccine. We encourage all Lagos residents to visit our listed public facilities to receive this vaccine at no cost to them; however, those that wish to receive them in the comforts of a private facility can do so at this administrative cost”.
The Governor also disclosed that plans have been made to set up mass vaccination sites in high traffic locations across the State and have mobile vans that move around settlements to reach individuals in hard-to-reach areas with limited access to health facilities stressing that this is part of the efforts to improve access to the vaccine and ensure vaccine equity in the State.
“We will set up COVID-19 vaccination fixed posts across 205 public health primary centres, 14 secondary and tertiary hospitals, and 400 private health centres across the 57 Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas.
“At the core of this campaign, we aim to strengthen vaccine equity to ensure that every resident of Lagos State has a fair and equal chance to fully access the vaccine regardless of who they are or where they are from which is key to seeing the unbearable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic”, Sanwo-Olu said.
He enjoined residents particularly political, traditional, religious and community leaders to mobilize support for the campaign in order to ensure a successful outcome in the State across the 57 Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas.
“I also wish to seek the support of our community leaders in facilitating community participation and mobilization of eligible individuals above the age of 18 years old to be available to be fully immunised with the COVID-19 vaccine. I salute the health workers that have been diligently and steadfastly administering the COVID-19 vaccines and I wish to assure them that their hard work will be rewarded”, he said.
Earlier in his address, the Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib expressed confidence that meeting and surpassing the target of fully vaccinating four million Lagosians against the global pandemic before Christmas is achievable.
He said: “We are confident that with the hands-on leadership of the Governor and the “can-do” spirit of Lagosians, this is achievable. My confidence is hinged on the fact that Lagos State has been leading other states in the utilization of Vaccines available in-country. This is not unexpected as this is the only state where the Governor is the Incident Manager of the COVID-19 response.
“The critical position of Lagos as the major gateway into the country has made it very vulnerable. What we have therefore set out to do is to proactively ensure that as our citizens who live abroad return home for Christmas, Lagosians are not infected with new strains of the Delta virus. As you are aware, there is already a fourth wave in the UK. We do not want a fourth wave of COVID-19 in Lagos or anywhere in Nigeria for that matter”.
Faisal disclosed that a total of 5,588,477 eligible persons have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria as of the 26th of October 2021 adding that 2,950,236 have received their second dose and are fully vaccinated.
“These represent 5% and 2.6% respectively, of the targeted eligible population of 111,776,503. From this data, it is obvious that we are very far from reaching our target of vaccinating almost 112 million eligible persons, which is necessary for Nigeria to attain herd immunity against COVID-19. This is why the flag-off today is very significant.
“While we are glad that Nigeria is ranked among the high performing countries in terms of COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, we still have a lot of work to do, in order to reach levels of immunization that will ensure our nation’s safety. This campaign is an important step in that direction.
“The Mass Vaccination Campaign is a carefully designed and quality-controlled strategy that creates greater access to COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria through prudent expansion of vaccination sites and involvement of private and even more public health facilities in vaccine administration. We now have enough vaccines, so this is the opportunity to get vaccinated”, he said.
Speaking in the same vein, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi averred that the COVID response strategy should continue to be hinged on focusing ahead to prevent and totally eradicate the COVID-19 virus from Nigeria whilst using the available resources to plan for the future of the great state.
He maintained that Lagos will continue to prosecute the war against the COVID pandemic by employing two-pronged approaches; the implementation of international travel protocol and COVID vaccination campaign.
“Recognizing that Lagos State is always the epicentre of COVID-19, also recognizing that we have studied the manner in which we acquire our first, second and third waves, we have put a strategic plan in place to bend and flatten the possibility of a fourth wave. This includes a two-pronged approach to ensure we can control the inbound flights’ regulations and guidelines to Lagos and maintain people in isolation if they are detected to be positive and secondly through the mass vaccination campaign”, Abayomi said.