Stakeholders in the health sector have raised concerns over the current deviation from what they describe as the original COVID-19 vaccination plan designed to vaccinate frontline worker, others is not been followed .
According to them, the initial plan of vaccinating health workers, frontline workers, those with higher morbidity and mortality rate is not being followed at the ongoing vaccination of citizens across the country.
They noted this at a webinar organized by Yiaga Africa to look at emerging issues and challenges in the cause of vaccine distribution, and to proffer solutions.
The Chairman Nigeria Medical Association, National Committee on Infectious Diseases, Dr Sanusi Muhammed said the initial plan of vaccinating health workers, frontline workers, those with higher morbidity and mortality rate is not being followed at the ongoing vaccination of citizens across the country.
According to Dr Sanusi, the idea of vaccinating frontline health workers is because they are at higher risks due to incessant contacts with patients. Thus according to him, they have to be protected first, so that they can be confident to provide health care and services.
He said “we need to stick to the vaccination plan so that even if the vaccine doesn’t go round, those with higher risk, elderly and those with high morbidity and mortality are prevented from getting infected and that will reduce the burden of the disease and mortality.”
On the issue of misinformation and misconception raised in the policy brief released by Yiaga Africa, Dr Sanusi said, the misconception about COVID-19 vaccine is not only in Nigeria but all over the world with many countries stopping the vaccine based on rumors and non-scientific basis.
However, he said many countries have since backtracked on their earlier decision to suspend the process as they are now coming to join the bandwagon with over 50 million people being vaccinated across the world so far.
He called on the review of Nigeria’s health indices and the need for the government to declare a state of emergency in not just the security but the health sector, saying COVID-19 exposed health systems across the world.
Echoing similar concerns is, Dr. Henry Ewunonu, a medical health advocate and former National Chairman of Nigeria Medical Association’s (NMA) Health Advocacy Committee, who revealed that he had seen citizens who are neither health workers nor elderly, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine during the first week of vaccination.
In her remark, the Director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu said the conversation is important to ensure that the whole process of vaccination is guided by certain principles and every aspect of society is catered for.
Earlier during his presentation of Yiaga Africa policy brief on COVID-19 vaccine management in Nigeria, Yiaga Africa’s Director of Center of Legislative Engagement, Dr Ernest Ereke revealed that, the invention of vaccine is a pivotal moment in the global battle against the covid-19 pandemic but there is also concern that there is global challenge in the access to the vaccine.