COVID-19 Vaccination: PSC urges massive mobilization of community members, elderly

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By Chimezie Godfrey

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha has urged stakeholders to mobilize community members and the elderly to get vaccinated.

He said this at the National Flag-off of Phase 2 COVID-19 Vaccination on Monday in Abuja, adding that the auspicious national flag-off is aimed at informing Nigerians that they are commencing another phase of the Four-Phased Strategic Vaccine Roll-Out Plan.

Mustapha who appreciated all Nigerians, especially those who have received their full two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine during the first phase which closed in July, revealed that the third wave with the Delta variant of the virus is already in Nigeria.

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According to him, this has resulted in the upsurge of COVID-19 cases in the last few weeks.

He stressed that the arrival of the 4,000,080 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine donated by the Government of the United States and the 177,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines out of the 29,850,000 doses the Federal Government has purchased through the Africa-Import-Export Bank and the African Union, is highly encouraging and motivating to the Presidential Steering Committee.

Mustapha stressed the need for citizens especially the elderly to get vaccinated, adding that vaccination is key in the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

He therefore urged stakeholders to do the needful in sensitizing and mobilizing members of their communities to ensure that they are vaccinated.

He said,”I therefore urge all stakeholders to mobilize their community members, aged 18 years and above, especially the elderly to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to stop the transmission of the virus as vaccination is pivotal to our efforts at containing the spread of COVID-19.

“It is therefore imperative that even after vaccination, you will continue to observe the non-pharmaceutical measures – wear your face mask, wash your hands frequently, maintain physical distancing, until we have vaccinated enough eligible Nigerians to achieve herd immunity.

“I sincerely commend all our stakeholders, especially our Governors for the demonstration of sterling leadership by example and for the oversight during the first phase.

“As the second phase of vaccination commences today, I believe our Governors and all those in leadership position will intensify mobilization efforts and continue to facilitate the vaccination of eligible persons in the States and LGAs to ensure all allocated vaccines for the second phase are fully utilized, just as we did during the first phase when we had one hundred percent utilization of available vaccines.

“It is therefore my honour and privilege to officially flag-off Phase 2 COVID-19 Vaccination in Nigeria on this day, Monday, 16th August, 2021, to glory of God and for the benefit of mankind.”

Mustapha reiterated federal government’s commitment to ensuring unfettered access to the COVID-19 vaccines by Nigerians, adding that the country will continue to invest in and access safe and effective vaccines for the citizens.

“I want to assure you that the Federal Government is committed to ensuring that Nigerians have unfettered access to COVID-19 vaccines as the country will continue to invest in and access safe and effective vaccines.

“It is now the responsibility of every citizen to register and get vaccinated so that we can achieve our desired herd immunity of vaccinating at least 70% of our eligible population.

“The Presidential Steering Committee will continue to monitor with concern the increasing trend of COVID-19 cases in several countries with special focus on those with high incidence rate and widespread prevalence of variants of concern.

“While Government deeply empathizes with families who have lost loved ones to this virus and assures them that we will continue to do everything possible to minimize the surge of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, citizens are strongly advised to minimize all non-essential international travels by land, air, or sea, at this time, specifically to countries that are showing rising number of cases and deaths from COVID-19,” he said.

Mustapha revealed a travel ban on travellers from Brazil, India, South Africa and Turkey into Nigeria as part of efforts to prevent trans-border transmission of the virus.

He warned that that violators of the travel restriction will be sanctioned accordingly.

“Consequently, restrictions are placed on travellers from Brazil, India, South Africa and Turkey into Nigeria in line with our travel guidelines.

“Individuals, transporters, and airlines who flout the guidelines shall be sanctioned. State Governments are required to ensure all returning travelers from all countries adhere to the mandatory seven-day self-isolation period and the repeat of COVID-19 PCR test on the seventh day after arrival. Violators will also be sanctioned accordingly,” he said.

He urged Nigerians to take responsibility to safeguard their health by ensuring that they get vaccinated, as he assured that the vaccines are safe and effective and is the only of coming out of the pandemic.

He said,”We all have a responsibility to safeguard the health of our people by ensuring that all eligible persons in our homes and communities get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccines while government will continue to ensure sustained availability of the vaccines.

“The onus is on eligible citizens to demand for, make the extra effort to access the vaccines, and get vaccinated. These vaccines are safe and efficacious and it is our only hope out of this pandemic for now.

“The first phase of our COVID-19 vaccination and the entire National Response has been adjudged by WHO as one of the best in the world. This is very heartwarming. However, we acknowledge that there is still room for improvement.

“I commend NPHCDA and our Partners for the various initiatives they have introduced to address vaccine hesitancy which was one of the greatest challenges encountered during the first phase.

“We invite all hands to be on deck to fight vaccine hesitancy in order to free our country and the rest of the world from this pandemic.”

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