August 26, 2022
The Federal Government has rewarded 15 states of the federation for their outstanding performance on routine immunisation and COVID-19 response.
The awards were given through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
The Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, said the awards were meant to recognise those who made remarkable contributions to immunisation in the country.
The award was organised to commemorate the 2022 African Vaccination Week (AVW).
AVN is an annual event celebrated during the last week of April in synchronisation with other World Health Organization (WHO) Regions and World Immunisation Week (WIW).
Mustapha said overcoming the misconceptions that followed vaccination was part of why the country had engagements with stakeholders and partners to promote vaccination uptake across the nation.
The SGF said this was further strengthened by conspiracy theories, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At the peak, our traditional religious leaders who are community gatekeepers were not left out in the struggle.
“They invested their energy and time in mobilising the communities for the uptake of our health workers, some of whom we have lost along the way.
He said they moved around the communities from house to house to ensure that every eligible child received vaccines and was protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.
“We are here together today to reward excellence or excellent performance by individuals and states that have encouraged the vaccination in their states,” he said.
According to him, While it is safe to mention the impressive decline of death arising from COVID-19 due to the ongoing vaccination.
” We should not rest yet as the virus is still very much with us.”
The SGF said that the COVID-19 virus mutated and that made it more dangerous, calling on Nigerians to take all precautions.
“I had the privilege some couple of weeks ago, along with the emir of Argungu, the health minister, and those that attended the launch of the SCALES 3.0 to take our second booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
“That guarantees that the vaccine is safe and efficacious.
“So I would ask every one of you here that have not availed themselves to take the booster doses and first be prepared to take that second because COVID-19 is not in a hurry to go.
“Most of this is to encourage all around us to get vaccinated as a matter of priority,” he said.
According to Mustapha, “as of Monday, from the records I have, we have about 43 million doses of different brands of vaccines in our cold storage facilities.
“So there is no vaccine shortage, what we have probably is vaccine hesitancy and as long as we do not get ourselves and our loved ones across the nation in our villages and our communities vaccinated, we have a long way to go.
“This is where I will continue to appeal to our traditional institutions because they are close to our people,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, said Vaccination had made an important contribution to the decreased incidence of numerous infectious diseases and associated mortality.
The Sultan was represented by the Chairman of the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Primary Health Care Delivery (NTLC), and Emir of Argungu Alhaji Samaila Mera.
He said that as traditional rulers, they would continue to collaborate with their communities to ensure that they take advantage of the health programmes to improve their health outcomes.
The states awarded were Kaduna, Adamawa, Edo, Lagos, Ebonyi, Benue, Jigawa, Gombe, Cross River, Ogun, Abia, Nasarawa, Kano and Yobe.
The goal of the AVW is to strengthen immunisation programmes by increasing awareness of the importance of every person’s right to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.
It aims at keeping immunisation high on the national and regional agendas through advocacy and partnerships, and promotes the delivery of other high-impact life-saving interventions.
The AVW provides opportunities for countries to strengthen the delivery of immunisation services and draws attention to the progress made towards ensuring access to basic life-saving vaccination across the
The over-arching slogan of AVW is “Vaccinated Communities, Healthy Communities”.
However, to commemorate this year’s AVW, Nigeria has adopted the theme “Long Life for All – Vaccinate for Healthy Living”.