By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
Stakeholders, mostly doctors and medical practitioners have raised concerns over the current deviation from what they described as the original COVID-19 vaccination plan designed after the arrival of the about 4 million Astrazeneca vaccine into Nigeria.
The stakeholders gave this indication recently during a webinar organized by Yiaga Africa to look at emerging issues and challenges in the cause of vaccine distribution, and to proffer solutions.
During the webinar on COVID-19 vaccine management in Nigeria, 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. 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 for 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.