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Health Stakeholders Concerned Over Vaccination Plan Deviations

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NPHCDA: More Than One Million Doses Of COVID-19 Vaccine Administered

Doctors and medical practitioners have raised concerns over deviating from original covid-19 vaccination plan. The federal government had announced after the arrival of 3.9 million AstraZeneca vaccine into Nigeria that medical –frontline workers would be prioritized, followed by elderly and those with co-mobility. The chairman of Nigeria Medical Association’s national committee on infectious diseases, Dr Sanusi Muhammed, said the plan is not being followed at the ongoing vaccination of citizens across the country.

Of vaccinating health workers, frontline workers, those with higher morbidity and mortality rate is not being

Of deviating from COVID-19 vaccination plan

Sanusi said during a webinar, organized by Yiaga Africa to look at emerging issues and challenges in the cause of vaccine distribution, and to proffer solutions that the idea of vaccinating frontline health workers is because they are at higher risks due to constant contacts with patients. He said have to be protected first, so that they can be confident to provide health care and services.

Mohammed added that there is a 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, 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 for a 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.

“A lot of things have to be put in place. Issue of brain drain, issue of remuneration of health workers, Nigeria is one of the countries paying the least,”  Mohammed said.

“Nigeria is paying less than 10 Dollars (5, 000 Naira) as health hazard allowances. This has been the case with previous diseases like Ebola, and Lassa fever, but COVID-19 has exposed this issue even more and shows that we need to do more in terms of manpower, infrastructure and also the basic lifesaving.”

He urged the National Assembly to speed up the passage of the Infectious Diseases Bill, explaining that the legislation will enhance control over what is happening in the country.

“You cannot allow political office holders to make ill-informed decisions with the lives of the people or masses of a state or Local Government Areas (LGAs) because of federalism or because he has the power to do so,” he said.

Echoing similar concerns was Dr. Henry Ewunonu, a medical health advocate and former national chairman of Nigeria Medical Association’s (NMA) Health Advocacy Committee.

Ewunonu revealed that he had seen citizens who are neither health workers nor elderly, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine during the first week of vaccination.

He urged the government to be transparent and accountable in a bid to increase private sector support adding: “Nigeria must not give the private sector reasons to back out or doubt if whatever they are doing is being appreciated”.

He decried the fact that he is yet to see a legislation, executive order or policy, prohibiting sharp practices in the course of administering COVID-19 vaccine to the population.

He called for a strict punishment to any indiscipline personnel even as he recalls a reported sharp practice at the Falomo Police clinic in Lagos.

In her remark, the Director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu said the conversation was important to ensure that the whole process of vaccination is guided by certain principles and every aspect of society is catered for.

According to Mbamalu, in the implementation of vaccination plan in Nigeria, the country needed to deploy effective monitoring and evaluation systems that will help document how well it has done, document the learning and how it could improve on the system.

She said, “beyond just the vaccination, there is a need to look at how to strengthen the health sector in Nigeria”.

In 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 who stated that the invention of vaccine is a pivotal moment in the global battle against the covid-19 pandemic worried about growing concerns that there is global challenge in the access to the vaccine.

He said the inequitable distribution of vaccines globally, accentuates the divide between the global north and global south saying this will weaken and hamper the fight against the global pandemic because the world is more linked together like never before.

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WHO, Africa CDC Urge African Nations To Keep Expired COVID Vaccines

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Africa CDC

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Africa Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC) have urged African countries not to destroy COVID-19 vaccines that have expired.  Many countries on the continent got AstraZeneca vaccines through the U.N. facilitated Covax scheme for their campaigns.

Now, the W.H.O. says countries whose stocks might have expired should hold on to the stock and wait for further guidance. The Africa CDC says it has spoken to the manufacturer and has been reassured that the vaccines are still safe.

Reports say many vaccines can be used up to 36 months after manufacture, but because COVID-19 jabs are new, there is not enough data to prove their effectiveness over longer periods.

The call came after Malawi and South Sudan said they would discard more than 70,000 doses of the AstraZeneca jabs that were out of date.

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa has been slow, partly because of supply issues and skepticism about the jab.

Out of 55 African countries, 41 have benefitted from the delivery of vaccines via the global-sharing scheme Covax. Seven are yet to receive their first batch.

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Lagos Shuts All COVID-19 Vaccination Centres

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Lagos has closed all COVID-19 vaccination centers across the state, after vaccinating more than a quarter of a million persons, completing the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.  That makes Lagos the only state that has inoculated more than 200,000 residents during this period.

Authorities say the first vaccination exercise ended on tuesday and all vaccination centres have been shut down.  Lagos State received from the federal government half a million of the nearly four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine delivered to Nigeria.

The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, had advised states to stop vaccination after administering half of the doses supplied to them.  This is to ensure those who had already received the first dose would be able to get the second jab.

Lagos health commissioner, Professor Akin Abayomi says the remaining doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been reserved at the Lagos State cold chain store for the 2nd dose exercise, starting from late next month.

He urged Lagosians who have already received the first jab to keep their next appointment dates for their second dose at the same health facilities where they got the first jab.

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Disruption In Oxygen Supply Kills Many COVID Patients In India

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Twenty-two COVID-19 patients on ventilators have on Wednesday died in a hospital in western India after a disruption in the supply of medical oxygen caused by a leak.

According to Reuters news agency quoting the Nashik district’s collector, Suraj Mandhar said an oxygen tanker leaked outside a hospital in the city, halting its supply for about half an hour before it later resumed for nearly 150 other patients in the hospital.

Media reports said all the victims were on ventilators and in need of constant oxygen supply in the hospital dedicated for COVID-19 patients.

Fire officer Sanjay Bairagi said the leak was halted by the fire service within 15 minutes, but there was supply disruption in the Zakir Hussain Hospital in Nashik, a city in Maharashtra state that is the worst hit by the latest surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

Television images showed white fumes spreading in the hospital area, causing panic.

Surinder Sonone, a police officer, said the leak occurred in a pipe connecting the oxygen supply to the main tank in the hospital complex.

India with the second highest confirmed cases of COVID-19 behind the United States has reported more than 15.6 million infections as the total number of fatalities stood at 182,553.

State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the state government has ordered an investigation into what caused the leak.

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