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Over 3m Nigerians receive first dose of COVID-19 vaccination

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 .FG introduces office to office vaccination.

   .Says doctors are not owed monthly salary

AKOR SYLVESTER-Abuja

Federal government yesterday hinted that it has so far vaccinated over 3 million Nigerians across the country with COVID-19 vaccines.

 

This is as it also informed that it has introduced office to office COVID-19 vaccination for the busy Nigerian workers.

 

The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Faisal Shuaibu who stated this at the Weekly Update on the Progress of Phase 11 vaccination in Abuja yesterday, said the over 3 million Nigerians vaccinated in the first phase of the vaccination included those who took AstraZeneca vaccine and those vaccinated with Moderna vaccine.

 

He said the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination has fully commenced across the country, urging those who have not taken the vaccination to expedite action to take it.

 

The Executive Director further urged Nigerians who want to take AstraZeneca vaccine as first dose to visit vaccination centres for the vaccination as he informed that the country received  more AstraZeneca vaccine.

 

“As of 6th September 2021, a total of 3,600,858 eligible Nigerians have so far received their 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine. This is made up of 2,551,738 persons vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine and 1,049,120 persons vaccinated with Moderna vaccine. Therefore, 1,576,011 persons have been fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine. We have now restarted the administration of AstraZeneca as first dose in all designated health facilities.

 

“The decision to re-open AstraZeneca for first dose administration is hinged on the fact that we received an additional 1,394,480 doses of vaccines through the COVAX facility. You may recall that at previous briefings I did inform you that as we receive additional supplies, we will open it up for first dose administration.

 

“We also received 1,123,200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine late evening on Saturday 4th September 2021 through the AVATT platform, coordinated by the African Union Commission, as part of the 39,800,000 doses procured by the Fevderal Government of Nigeria.

 

“The NAFDAC team have already taken samples for analysis and are currently scanning the codes to ensure proper serialization of the vaccine.

 

“In recognition of the fact that some workers may find it difficult to leave their duty post to the vaccination site, we have introduced and expanded in-situ corporate vaccination. This entails making special arrangement for eligible staff, dependants and retirees of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) and the private sector to get vaccinated in their office premises.

 

” MDAs, public and private corporate organization that require staff to be vaccinated should visit www.nphcda.gov.ng to fill the request form. These services would be provided at no cost to the Ministries, agency/cooperate bodies. States and LGAs should please note that no fees/levies should be mandated from the cooperate bodies when teams are sent to provide these services.

 

“We would like Nigerians to note the number of COVID-19 cases recorded in this third wave. Please remember that the Delta variant is highly contagious, more than twice as contagious as previous COVID-19 variants and the more a community/society remains unvaccinated, the more they allow this virus to mutate to other more virulent forms. We have the vaccines to stop this mutation process and prevent deaths related to this disease. I therefore encourage us to take advantage of the efforts by the Federal Government to ensure citizens are safe and protected from this virus.

 

“There have been questions raised by some, about a few vaccinated individuals who have contracted COVID-19 infection. Where such rare cases of COVID-19 infection occur in individuals who have received the vaccination more than 14 days prior, it is called breakthrough infection. The observation is that in these individuals, the disease is usually milder than those who were unvaccinated.

 

“Vaccination prevents one from severe disease, hospitalization and death. If our communities continue to remain unvaccinated, we will keep endangering our citizens most especially those who are vulnerable, elderly or immunocompromised. I encourage us to be our brother’s keepers and adhere to all measures to not just protect ourselves, but our loved ones, friends and communities. Taking the jab is a first step towards taking responsibility.

 

“We have been inundated with questions about why the UK insists

Nigerians who have been fully vaccinated are still required to isolate upon arrival in the UK. The reason is quite simple: We in Nigeria also require fully vaccinated UK citizens to isolate for seven days despite being fully vaccinated. In diplomatic circles, this is often referred to as the principle of reciprocity. Nigeria alongside countries like France and the Netherlands are listed as amber countries by the UK Government based on criteria such as the number of populations immunized and incidence rates of COVID-19 infection. Individuals from Countries listed as amber countries are required by the UK Government to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and be quarantined for a few days.

 

“Regardless of a vaccine type or vaccination status, if a Nigerian with a Nigerian passport travels to a Country on their green list and spends 14 days there before going to the UK, they would not be quarantined in the UK because they are coming from a green listed country. Likewise, if a German or Australian that is currently from their green listed country travels to a country like France, Ghana or Italy which is on their amber list like Nigeria, and such an individual spends 14 days or more in these countries before departing to the UK, such an individual would be made to do a COVID-19 test and quarantined, regardless of their vaccination status. Just like Nigeria, every Country has its own COVID-19 travel rules, protocols and guidelines for travellers coming from other Countries. So, this should be a motivation for all eligible Nigerians to get vaccinated, in order for us to increase our population coverage and return back to normalcy.

 

“On the issue of recognizing the Indian made Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine also known as Covishield, this is really more of a documentation matter, rather than a quality issue. We got these vaccines through WHO and COVAX. So COVAX and WHO are pursuing the issue across the globe, rather than each Country addressing it separately. The WHO and COVAX have so far gotten 15 Countries to recognize the Covishield vaccine. They are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. They are working on getting more countries to recognize the documentation.”

 

Maintaining that no country is safe until all countries achieve herd immunity. the Executive Director urged Nigerians  to remain vigilant of mischief makers who he said have now resorted to producing fake news on COVID-19 vaccination.

 

According to him, a lot of time, energy and resources have been invested by Nigeria and the rest of the world to end the pandemic.

 

He said It was incumbent on Nigerians to ensure the success of the vaccination campaign by arming themselves with correct and reliable information and resisting every attempt to be misguided on COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination.

 

He said “the conspiracies around COVID-19 vaccines are exactly what they are: mere conspiracy theories that are not based on verifiable evidence. If we interrogate these theories carefully, we will come to the realization that they are carefully worded to mislead.

 

“Therefore, we should disregard them completely because we know better”, he said.

 

Meanwhile, the Federal government yesterday denied owing Medical Doctors monthly salary as claimed by the Doctors.

 

Minster of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige who dropped the hint said the reaction was contrary to what he described pernicious propaganda by the striking members of the National Association of Resident Doctors(NARD) that they were owed monthly salary.

 

The Minister, at the opening of the meeting of the Presidential Committee on Salaries with the leadership of the Joint Health Sector Union( JOHESU) Tuesday in Abuja, said the fumes  from the propaganda machine of NARD were obfuscating the reality of the Federal Government’s efforts to re-position the health sector.

 

“NARD goes about telling Nigerians that government is owing them salaries and that government is not taking the problems in the health sector serious.  But this is not true. It is incorrect.  No doctor, nurse , pharmacist or any other health worker including  the driver is owed monthly salary. Government pays as and when due.

 

“The truth is that NARD doctors fail to tell Nigerians that their colleagues who are owed salaries are the ones illegally recruited and were therefore neither captured by the Office of the Head of  Service of the Federation nor was their  payments provided for by the Budget Office of the Federation.

 

“Monthly salaries  are done as and when due for those legitimately employed by the Federal Government but  not to those illegally  employed and  who need their appointments regularized and captured in the finances of government for payment.  This takes a process which is not accomplished overnight.”

 

Ngige referred to the presidential waiver for employment into  the critical Health and Defence Ministries in view of the general embargo on employment and assured that doctors illegally recruited would have their service regularized in due course.

 

The Minister however said that money which the Federal Government owes few doctors and other workers was the 2020 COVID-19 allowance, besides  the arrears of the consequential adjustment of the National Minimum Wage and skipping allowance which cut across other  sectors.  He said  work was in progress to clear this .

 

He blamed the Nigerian Medical Association ( NMA) and JOHESU for bringing segregation in the negotiation for the new hazard allowance  which the Federal Government already budgeted the sum of N37.5b for.

 

“ We started joint negotiation to round off discussion and implement  new hazard allowance as early as possible so as to stave off  the current wolf-crying by doctors. They brought in segregation and couldn’t agree with JOHESU and both now want separate negotiations . Why then blame government and make it an issue to strike for.”

 

In his speech the Minister of State for Health, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora said it was such a wrong time to go on strike, noting  that  despite financial constraints , government was committed to payment of salaries of doctors and health workers

 

The Minister of State for Finance, Budget and Planning, Clement Agba rued the expanding budgetary expenditure of government even as revenue continues to dwindle. He added that government was doing its best and committed to workers welfare but certainly won’t continue to borrow to pay salaries.

 

President of JOHESU, Josiah Biobelemonye said his union was “the patient dog of the health sector” and pressed for the swift tackling of the challenges facing its members, to avoid forcing them to strike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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