…As WHO hails Lagos’ intervention
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday, disclosed that the state government will commence administration of the 507, 000 Astra Zeneca COVID-19 COVAX doses to residents from tomorrow, Thursday, March 11, 2021.
Recall that the state received the consignment of the vaccine doses on Tuesday, with Sanwo-Olu
inaugurating a multi-stakeholder COVID-19 Vaccine Access and Distribution Committee chaired by the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi.
Sanwo-Olu, who disclosed this while hosting the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative for Nigeria, Dr Walter Mulombo on a courtesy visit at Lagos House, Ikeja, said the vaccination would be in line with the scheduled guidelines laid down by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
He said that the federal government had given the state a total of 507,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines and plans were in place to begin administering.
‘According to Sanwo-Olu, “We are truly grateful that they (federal government) can give us that number, we want a lot more. We have the Vaccine Steering Committee that we put in place, which has both the private sector practitioners and public sector practitioners.
”They have designed a robust vaccine implementation strategy, they have identified the various levels of our citizens and what order we are going to be administering the doses that we have.
”With all of that now, working with the Primary Health Board at the state level, we will start administering it maybe from tomorrow or as they plan.
”We have a robust process that shows we are ready and capable to administer those things in the days, weeks and months ahead.
”We need to explain to our citizens and help them see that indeed, the vaccine is needed, it is helpful and it will help the level of resistance, especially the first line health workers, those with underlining health issue and the senior citizens among us,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He said that COVID-19 came at a time the world did not have a clear understanding of the consequences but Lagos State was able to respond early enough.
”The whole idea was that you not wait for the problem to come, you anticipate the problem and you build the capacity, you build redundancy so that when it finally comes, you have the response.
”Now the second wave appears to have flattened, we are watching, we are not stopping at the level of tests that we need to conduct and we still have isolation centres that need to treat.
”We still have oxygen cylinders that we procure, we still have drugs in stock, we bought everything that we need to buy because we feel that it is a public health issue and we are facing it front,” the governor said.
Earlier, Mulombo commended the governor and his cabinet for the prompt manner in responding to emergencies, health, transportation, and for the state’s contribution in making Nigeria polio-free.
He said that the prompt response of the Lagos State Government on COVID-19 had made Nigeria a reference point and other African countries urged to follow the Nigerian approach to the COVID-19 response.
According to him, Lagos State Government is among the first to show courageous measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
”I can see the testing rate, other interventions and how the testing capacity increased in a short time. I can see how oxygen provision has expanded and we are really proud to have Lagos work under your leadership.
”Nigeria is going through the second wave and new tools are becoming available. This year is about the COVID-19 vaccine, which is important to economic development.
”We are hopeful that with the vaccine rollout, our economy will gradually reopen, we look forward to that leadership that Lagos has shown in the early phase of response to the virus, we expect it to show some leadership in the vaccine rollout and administration,” Mulombo said.
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