By Chimezie Godfrey
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has pleaded with Nigerians to have faith on the vaccine which will arrive the country tomorrow Tuesday 2nd February, 2021.
The Minister made the plea on Monday in Abuja during the launch of the T.E.A.C.H Strategy for COVID-19 Vaccination and Electronic Management of Immunization on Data (EMID) System in Nigeria.
The T.E.A.C.H strategy was launched by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health.
Dr Ehanire noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has spread as rapidly in Nigeria as it has spread around the world, adding that it has effected the economy and the whole the society.
He said that there is no doubt that these have been trying times for humanity, for all countries and also for every Nigerian.
The Minister stressed that despite the challenges, there is now hope with the introduction of the much awaited COVID-19 Vaccine.
He therefore called all stakeholders and partners, to have faith on their capacity and experience to appropriately carry out the COVID-19 vaccination program.
He said,”Vaccination with safe and effective vaccine is a critical part of the Nigerian strategy to counter the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To this end several research agencies have responded to the call to develop a safe and efficacious vaccine against the COVID-19 and it has yielded the much need result.
“We in Nigeria finally have the privilage to join other countries in kick-starting the immunization program.
“Our goal is to introduce the vaccine and the vaccination of Nigerians in a phased and equitable manner, based on the advice from the World Health Organization, as it is done in other countries and ultimately vaccinating all eligible Nigerians.
“We are inching close to gaining control over the COVID-19 pandemic with the access of all eligible Nigerians to the COVID-19 Vaccines.
“I thanked the NPHCDA for rolling out the T.E.A.C.H strategy for the COVID-19 Vaccination.
“I therefore call on all stakeholders, partners, cooperate organizations to faith on us as we apply our initiatives brought from years of experience from the immunization space.
“No private organization have the experience of administering vaccines.”
Dr Ehanire urged citizens to direct all questions about the Vaccines to the Ministry of Health and NPHCDA.
He stressed that this is not a time to make private arrangements for the acquisition of Vaccines, adding that all Vaccines not certified by NAFDAC will be termed to be dangerous and harmful.
The Minister assured that the interest of all organizations have been safely accommodated in the NPHCDA T.E.A.C.H strategy.
According to him, the strategy have prioritized the vaccination of frontline health workers because every Health worker who is infected with COVID-19 pandemic will go into isolation which will mean one more less of a medical personnel.
He urged all eligible Nigerians to take advantage of the COVID-19 Vaccines as the only way to curtail and stop the transmission of the virus.
The Minister further stressed that the vaccine is free for all eligible Nigerians, and that any one caught trying to charge money for the vaccine should be reported to the appropriate authorities.
The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib in his remark pointed out that the T.E.A.C.H strategy is an innovative indigenious strategy for effective distribution of the COVID-19 Vaccines.
He stressed that the strategy is sharing with all Nigerians the indigenious approach of the roll out of the COVID-19 Vaccines.
According to him, this approach would not have been possible if not for the assistance and support of the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.
“Today it is my honour and privilege to roll out the teach strategy which stand for an indigenious approach to the COVID-19 Vaccination in Nigeria.
“The T.E.A.C.H strategy represents the traditional vaccination campaign approach, electronic self-registration by eligible Nigerians, assisted electronic registration of eligible Nigerians, concomitant vaccination alongside electronic vaccination, and house to house registration of eligible Nigerians.
“The roll out is categorized into four different phases, starts with the front line workers, security, first responders and our strategic leadership, which include Mr President, Ministers, among others targeted in the first phase of the 4million doses which we are expecting tommorow, which is the first batch of the16million doses.”
Dr Shuaib said that the second phase covers people of 50 years and above, and equally those who have underlying ailments, among others.
According to him, the strategy is futurist and will give a huge opportunity to do tracking and tracing of the COVID-19 Vaccines, which will give an accurate data base about how Nigerians are taking the Vaccines.
He also thanked President Buhari for his support which has made it possible for the launch of the T.E.A.C.H strategy.
The Direct General, DG, NAFDAC, Mojisola Adeyeye noted that NPHCDA and NAFDAC have been working round the clock to ensure that the Vaccine arrive the country safely.
She said that the arrival of the vaccine is a gateway to drug coming from South-East Asia to avoid substandard and falsified medicine.
She disclosed that they had to give a special exemption to the vaccine to ensure that the vaccine on the way coming has the expected quality.
According to her, their work just started because they are going to conduct pharmacovigilance and other necessary tests on the vaccine to ensure there is no falsification and also to monitor the side effects of the vaccine, among others.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative to Nigeria, Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu noted that Nigeria has led an examplary response to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that Nigeria has a strong background of preparedness for the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, this new strategy will help in the coordination, introduction and vaccination of the communities.
He thanked the Minister of Health for his support for this project, as he equally congratulated the ED of the NPHCDA, among other stakeholders who have played vital roles in the actualization of the T.E.A.C.H strategy.
The NCDC Chairman Dr Chikwe Ihekwazu was also represented at the occasion, among other dignitaries.