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Health News of Wednesday, 27 April 2022


30 million doses of coronavirus vaccines may expire as Nigerians shun vaccination

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Many Nigerians are dropping out after taking the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said yesterday.

The agency warned that the low COVID-19 vaccines utilisation in states may result in the expiration and wastage of over 30 million doses of vaccines.

It noted that while some states like Nasarawa, Jigawa, and Kano among others, ramp up vaccination coverage of their target population, many states lag behind due to poor coordination structures.

NPHCDA, which put the dropout rate at about 42 percent nationally, noted that while Gombe State has a dropout rate of 25 percent, Kogi State has the highest dropout rate of 63 percent.

It urged states to ramp up vaccination drives, while encouraging Nigerians to get vaccinated and also take advantage of the single shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine available in designated health facilities across the country.

The Director of the Department of Primary Health Care System Development at the NPHCDA, Dr. Nneka Onwu, who made this known during a briefing at the Federal Ministry of Health, said: “Currently, we have 74 million doses of all four vaccines (AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson) in the country. We have 15,918,850 doses of Johnson and Johnson; AstraZeneca, 20,241,840; Pfizer, 21,577,140; and Moderna, over 16 million.

“In the quarters to come, we expect more than 70 million doses to see us get to our target of achieving our herd immunity, at least 70 percent of our target population vaccinated by the end of the year.

“This means that for quarter two, we have and expecting 36 million doses of all these vaccines. Also in the third quarter, we expect to have about 19 million, and in the fourth quarter, it is about 36 million. This gives us that total number of 70 million doses.

“In-country, at the national, state and local government, and even at the delivery site, we have over 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in stock currently and being deployed as we speak.

“So, far, we have vaccinated 25,654,988 persons with the first dose, and equally, for the second dose, about 11 million. However, fully vaccinated remains 14,826,066. The proportion of the population vaccinated is about 20 percent, while fully vaccinated is about 14 percent.

“Only two states have exceeded the 50 percent target, and that is Nasarawa and Jigawa. Top on the list in terms of vaccination is Nasarawa, followed by Jigawa, Kano and Kaduna states.

“So far, the average daily vaccination is about 247,664. One of the things we have done during Ramadan is to include night vaccination.

“Dropout rates are not so good across the states. We expect 10 percent, but most of the states are still outside that range.

“The least is Gombe with 25 percent and the highest being Kogi with 63 percent dropout from the first dose. The national dropout is 42 percent. We are still above the 10 percent dropout rate. This is only for AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna. J & J is not included because it is a single dose.

“We have a poor coordination structure, especially at the sub-national level. That is why we have encouraged our partners and gatekeepers to support and see that we achieve our target so that we will not fall into the situation that China and other countries have fallen into.

“There is still slow immunisation, but with the step up of integration in PHC facilities, we see light at the end of the tunnel; that people will come with their children and entire family to receive services. Still, integration remains a big challenge.

“We do have a lot of vaccines here in-country, and with low utilisation, we run a risk of it being expired. But we are happy to say that the ones we are expecting in April that we have utilised. Going forward, we are stepping up, but we do have a lot of Moderna now compared to its expiry date in May and June. What we have said is to optimise and prioritise the use of Moderna going forward.”

Health Minister Dr. Osagie Ehanire urged Nigerians to refrain from non-essential crowding and apply non-pharmaceutical measures to maintain the country’s low infection rate and fatalities.

The minister said: “Experience in other countries in Europe and China tells us that there can be a flare up of COVID-19 at any time triggered by factors yet to be understood. Shanghai is on a lockdown because of the explosion of COVID-19. Our priority is to improve the health indices of the country. This cannot be achieved without the corporation of the public.”