COVID-19: NPHCDA introduces childhood immunisation at vaccination sites

In furtherance of its effort to combat different diseases affecting children and adults in Nigeria, the National Primary Health-Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has introduced the immunisation of children and other primary health care (PHC) services at COVID-19 vaccination sites.

Addressing journalists Tuesday in Abuja, the Executive Director/CEO of NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, urged parents or guardians with children aged zero to 23 months to take them along to the vaccination sites to ensure that, “while we are trying so hard to control the transmission of COVID-19, we do not neglect other PHC services or even have outbreaks of childhood vaccine preventable diseases on our hands.”

He said: “As you are aware, as the holiday season approached, we began to see an increase in the number of cases not just in Nigeria but also globally. In Nigeria, several unvaccinated individuals were migrating from the cities to the rural areas and back to the cities.

“Globally, we saw the emergence of new variants such as IHU variant in France which is said to have 46 mutations, Deltacron in Cyprus and the Omicron variant still being highly infectious with a BA.2 subvariant rapidly spreading. More of our citizens were coming down with the infection. Luckily for our vaccinated population, those who came down with the COVID-19 infection had mild symptoms, which they managed at home due to the immunity the vaccination provided them. If they were not vaccinated, we cannot predict how these cases would have turned out. Vaccination prevents you from severe disease, hospitalization and death.

“We would also like to inform the general public that in this phase of COVID-19 mass vaccination, we plan to integrate the campaign with childhood immunization and other PHC services. What this simply means is that alongside the COVID-19 vaccines, childhood vaccines will also be available at COVID-19 vaccination sites.

“Our record as of today, Tuesday January 25th 2022, shows that 14,093,873 eligible persons have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria while 5,252,406 eligible Nigerians have been fully vaccinated. However, as one would expect, these results are not evenly distributed across the states of the Federation.

“Our deep dive into state performances reveals that Nasarawa, Jigawa, FCT, Ogun and Kwara have remained the top 5 performing states on COVID-19 vaccine uptake.

“As you are aware, Nigeria introduced booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine on the 10th of December 2021, following the recommendation by WHO for people who have received two doses of AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer Bio-N-Tech or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccines. In line with his exemplary leadership style, President Muhammadu Buhari received his booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday the 21st of December 2021.

“So far, 416,980 Nigerians have received their booster dose. Again, this is a clear indication that many more Nigerians are determined to achieve maximum protection against COVID-19. It is our hope that the year 2022 represents the exit and recovery of Nigeria and the rest of the world from COVID-19.”