…calls on residents for responsiveness to take advantage
Lagos State Government (LASG) on Tuesday flagged off the COVID-19 Scales 0.3 Vaccination Campaign aimed at ramping up the records of the 25percent profile of its population who have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
With the support of the Federal Government through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), for provisions of vaccines, the State Government called on citizens to avail themselves of the opportunity to safeguard themselves.
Lagos remain the epicentre of the pandemic since its inception in the Country in February 2020.
At the flag-off ceremony on Tuesday, at Ikeja the State Capital, the State’s Commissioner for Health, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Ibrahim Akinwummi Mustapha, said the Scales 0.3 was developed in collaboration with the national body “to further ramp-up COVID-19 vaccination coverage across Lagos State.”
“This is meant to be a three month can-do strategy that will accelerate COVID-19 vaccination in the State and will focus on the integrated efforts of the State’s work plans,” he said.
According to him, it would build on “lessons learnt, challenges and recommendations for State specific engagements to address the identified implementation gap of Scales 0.2 and promptly promote accountability for performance.”
He said while the Scales 0.2 was of benefit that vitalised routine immunisation process in the State, the Scales 0.3 would build on the feat.
According to him, those who are yet to have any of the dose, 1st, 2nd, and booster – can come forth for same, while stating that those who their last bolster dose was four months ago can also now take a second bolster dose.
“You can come for a second bolster dose if your last bolster dose was four months ago,” he said.
“At the core of this campaign, we need 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 and where they are from, which is key to seeing the unbearable impact of COVID-19 pandemic reduced to the minimum,” he said.
He disclosed that mobile teams would be engaged to get to residents that may not have the opportunity to visit the fixed post for their vaccinations.
He called for the support of all stakeholders, particularly at the grassroots to put hands on deck to encourage eligible residents above 18 years “to get themselves vaccinated.”
He however, disclosed residents from 12 years above can seek to be vaccinated with conditions that they have a valid evidence of travelling abroad for schooling with admission letter.
Acknowledging that Lagos remains the epicentre of the pandemic since the 27th February 2020 when it was first discovered in Nigeria, he said to mitigate the scourge of the virus, several strategies instituted including lockdown, increased rate of PCR testing capacity, identification of strains of the virus, improvement of provision of medical oxygen across the State, expansion of isolation capacity, have proven their potency in managing the virus.
According to him, from 15th of March 2021 when vaccination campaign started in the State, to 9th of August 2022, the State has vaccinated a total of 2,022,523 persons for the first dose (representing 25.2percent of the population); 1,587,554 vaccinated with second dose (19.6 percent of the target); 141,855 vaccinated with bolster doses.
“With the full understanding that substantial proportion of our population must be vaccinated to reduce the impact of the ongoing wave of the COVID-19 virus, and prevent the real emergency of catastrophic events which have been witnessed during the previous waves, the State has developed robust vaccination strategy leveraging on both the strength of public-private partnership,” he said.
According to him, the significance of mustering efforts on vaccination is informed by the need to avoid a breakdown of the economy
“One of the major driving force we have in the development of our strategy is the protection of our economy. We don’t want, at any time, the economy to be closed down for anything. We intend for the economy to continue to open for business. That has been our focus in Lagos,” he said.
He appreciated all partners, reassuring that “COVID-19 vaccines are safe and present the best option for eradicating the pandemic as of now.”
On monkey pox, which 27th July, 2022, was declared a disease of public health emergency of international concern, he said the State has taken a lot of proactive measures by training disease surveillance officers across the State for prompt testing of suspected cases of money pox and has adequately made funds available for the purpose.
He said with the nature of the transmission of the virus which can’t be prevented by washing of hands and sanitizer, it was only important for people to avoid close skin-to-skin contact with people who have rash and ensure cleaning and disinfecting surfaces frequently touched.
Representing the World Health Organisation (WHO), Lawal Sherifat, the COVID-19 Vaccination Coordination and RI Focal Person said though Lagos has reached a remarkable stretch of covering over 25percent of her population, more are needed to be done to ramp-up the number.
According to her, the WHO will always be available to give support to the state as partners for the process.
Representing Red Cross, the Branch Secretary, Lagos State, Olakunle Azeez, said the organisation would embark on jingles from August to December, with volunteers doing campaigns at market and campuses, for mobilisation to get more Lagosians vaccinated.
He said though such efforts have been replicated nationwide, the record of the turnout in Lagos was positive and applauded with good cooperation, against the record in other states.
The Country Director, USAID funded MRITE, Dr. Yakubu Cherima, said Lagos State has done considerably well in terms of COVID-19 vaccinations with a record of 25percent, against other States some of which have records below five percent.
He called for more responsibility pledging the support of his organisation to achieve the goals.
The Baale of Marine Beach, who is the Chairman for grassroots mobilisation committee for COVID-19 vaccination in Lagos, Chief Dr. Joseph Omobolanle, said the mobilisation committee would use “all might” to ensure sensitisation goes around all Lagos.
Assuring “mobilisation of no comparison” above past records, he said the Committee members are resolute to work day and night, promising “our unflinching support is pledged.”