On Wednesday, the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) said that 3.5 million Nigerians who were eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine had been properly immunized.
According to the organization, 6.6 million Nigerians have received the first dose of the vaccine, with 3.5 million having received the entire vaccine.
The NPHCDA’s Executive Director, Dr Faisal Shuaib, was represented by the Director (Disease Control and Immunisation), Bassey Okposen, during a COVID-19 vaccine awareness program hosted by the National Association of Nigerian Students at the University of Abuja.
During the ceremony, NANS President Sunday Asefon urged all students who had not yet had their vaccination to take advantage of the mass vaccination to protect themselves and their campuses.
Shuaib stated that the Federal Government has enough vaccine doses on hand to cover a big percentage of the population, and that the country was still waiting for roughly 57 million doses.
According to him, around 70% of the country’s population would need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity against the virus.
He said, “6.6 million Nigerians have taken the first dose. Another 3.5 million of the figure have taken the second dose. We are targeting 70 per cent because the current number is low.
“The risk this poses to the nation is that it would give a chance for mutation of the virus. The virus mutates in an environment where herd immunity is low. And for us as a nation, we have only achieved 3.5 million for the second dose which is very low. This is why mutation can happen so fast.
“The United Kingdom and few other governments have banned Nigeria. Though not that we cannot travel but when we get there, we have to quarantine for 10 days. The simple reason is that in some of the cases of Omicron in the UK, the travellers are from Nigeria. That is why they are taking safety precautions. It is not because of the vaccines we are using but because the cases they have for now are from Nigeria.
“We have more than enough vaccine in Nigeria for now. We also have a pool of vaccines almost 57 million that are awaiting shipment. There is about 40 million already in the country and we have secured about 90 million doses.
“Hence, the vaccine is not the issue. The challenge is people coming out to take their jab.”
The NPHCDA urged students and unvaccinated to simply take their COVID-19 vaccine, stressing that it is “free, safe, and effective”.
Asefon, said NANS had demonstrated acceptance and endorsement for the vaccine.
He said, “When the surplus vaccine came in, they invited us. I, as the National President alongside Senate President, National Executive Council Members, and members of the National Secretariat of NANS had taken our first jab to boost students’ confidence in the vaccine.
“As a union, there is a need for us to ensure that the vaccination programme extends to all campuses. The welfare of our students is paramount, hence we want all students to be vaccinated because we believe health is wealth. It is when you have good health you can have time study.
“We are encouraging our students to come out en masse and take their jab. Some bad notions should be corrected because the vaccine is safe. Students shouldn’t listen to the campaign of calumny. We need to join hands with the government to ensure that we reduce the virus. We cannot allow anything that will make our schools to be closed down.”