COVID-19 vaccination is still uncertain in 11 states as the Federal Government says it has yet to receive the lists of their frontline health workers.
The states include Kano, Kogi, Osun, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Katsina and Taraba.
This is according to a progress chart sent to the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency on Saturday tagged, ‘Update from COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Room.’
But some of the states in their separate reactions faulted the NPHCDA, saying they had submitted the lists. They also blamed the agency for the confusion.
Recall that the Federal Government had on Tuesday received 3.94 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from COVAX facility, an initiative co-led by the Vaccine Alliance, GAVI and the World Health Organisation.
The facility was set up to ensure equitable access to a COVID-19 vaccine by dividing about two billion doses across 92 low-and middle-income countries.
The Federal Government began the vaccination of Nigerians against the deadly disease on Friday when health workers at the National Hospital, Abuja received doses of the vaccine.
On Saturday, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo were vaccinated against the deadly disease
The Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, had on Thursday warned that his agency would not make the vaccine available to states which had not met the criteria set for its distribution.
It was gathered that one of the criteria was the list of health workers, which the agency asked states to submit.
The NPHCDA progress chart, which one of our correspondents obtained on Sunday, measured the compliance of the 36 states and the FCT using five criteria which include states that have submitted the list of health workers in their employ; states that have health facilities for COVID-19 vaccination sites; states that have health facilities in treatment and isolation centres; states that have submitted the list of focal persons for e-registration and states that have set up technical working groups and operations rooms.
A review of the document showed that the states that met all criteria set by the NPHCDA include: Ekiti, Lagos, Adamawa, Edo, FCT, Kaduna, Kebbi, Ogun, Oyo, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara.
The document stated that 25 states and the Federal Capital Territory had submitted the lists of health workers in their primary, secondary and tertiary facilities.
The states that complied include Ekiti, Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Yobe, Ondo, Akwa Ibom and Zamfara.
The report noted that Ekiti, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Ogun, Lagos and Zamfara shared a “comprehensive lists of primary, secondary and tertiary health workers.”
According to the document, 28 states and the FCT have submitted lists of health facilities for COVID-19 vaccination sites while eight states have not.
The states that have yet to comply include Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Delta, Kogi, Plateau and Taraba states.
The report noted that 12 states have yet to set up operation rooms for vaccine distribution. They were identified as: Abia, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Ondo and Taraba.
About nine states have also failed to set up technical working groups.
We have submitted health workers’ list to appropriate quarters – Osun
When contacted, the Osun State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Rafiu Isamotu, faulted the agency, saying the state had submitted the list of its health workers to the appropriate quarters.
He said, “I don’t know the source of your information. All I know is that Osun submitted (list of its health workers for vaccination) to the appropriate quarters.”
Benue to submit list of facilities this week – Commissioner
But the Benue State Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Joseph Ngbea, confirmed that the state had not submitted the list of facilities that would be used for COVID-19 vaccination.
He, however, said that the state would this week submit the list.
He said that training of workers would be rounded off on Tuesday. “This (sending the list) will be done this week and once we are done with the training, what is left is to attach the list with the cold chains that are ready”.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of the Gombe State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Abdulrahman Shuaibu, said the list of the state’s health workers was submitted to the NPHCDA two weeks ago.
He said, “I sent the list of health workers to Hajiya Binta, about two weeks ago and she acknowledged receiving it. I have evidence of acknowledgment of the mails.”
I was surprised when I was told Abuja didn’t see the list – Katsina executive secretary
Also, the Katsina State Government said on Sunday evening that it had sent the list of its health workers to the NPHCDA.
The Executive Secretary, Primary Health Care Agency, Dr Shamsudeen Yahaya, disclosed this in an interview with one of our correspondents.
Yahaya said, “We had earlier sent the list along with those of others. But I am surprised when I was told this evening that they did not see the list in Abuja.
I am sorting it out already. We have just resent it now and I am quite sure that they would have received the list by now.”
Yahaya had in an earlier interview with The PUNCH, said the state had enough cooling facilities for the COVID-19 vaccine.
It was an error, we have sent the list – C’River
The Cross River State Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, on her part, stated, “We sent the list since. It was an error on the national dashboard. By tomorrow (Monday) states will know the quantities of vaccine they will receive. CACOVID will help with a private jet to distribute the vaccine to all the states on Tuesday.”
Effort to get the Kano State Commissioner of Health, Dr Ibrahim Tsanyawa, to react to the inclusion of the state among states that had not submitted the lists of health workers failed.
He neither picked The PUNCH correspondent’s phone calls nor replied a text message sent to him.
The PUNCH on Sunday learnt that many states did not include private doctors and nurses on the lists they sent to Abuja.
Govt must vaccinate all health workers, says AGPMPN
Commenting on the development, the President of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, Dr Ugwu Odo, said the government must ensure that all health workers were given the COVID-19 vaccine.
Odo, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said it was wrong for the Federal Government to exclude health workers in private isolation centres and hospitals from the COVID-19 vaccination protocol.
He said, “Although the government has not communicated with us officially, if it is true that there is a position to exclude private sector health workers, then it will be a most objectionable situation. We hope it is not true. We hope that the government knows that every health care worker is at the risk and that every health care worker deserves care from the country at a time like this.
“The only respectable and honourable thing for our government to do is to bring health care provider population under cover for vaccination. Anything short of that is unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Federal Road Maintenance Agency, Femi Bamisile, has called for increased sensitisation of Nigerians to the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Bamisile, who represents Ekiti South Federal Constituency II, said such was necessary to make more eligible Nigerians present themselves for the vaccine in order to protect them from the virus.
The lawmaker spoke at Emure Ekiti on Sunday while donating equipment, including 10 mini-bus ambulances, six motorcycles, beds, generators and standing fans to health facilities in Gbonyin, Emure and Ekiti East council areas constituting his federal constituency.
Bamisile said, “Many still believe there is no COVID-19 in Nigeria and they are saying there is no need for the vaccine. It is necessary to make the people realise COVID-19 is real.
“My advice is that Nigerians must embrace the COVID-19 vaccination. All targeted ages should try to get the vaccination as it is directed. Nigerians should not ignore the opportunity from government for all to know their health status.”
The Ekiti State Commissioner for Health, Dr Banji Filani, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Primary Healthcare, Olabisi Arogundade, lauded the lawmaker for the gesture and ought health personnel in the area to maintain the equipment.
Also, the Osun State Government on Sunday urged residents to observe COVID-19 protocols.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Civic Engagement, Mr Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, gave the advice during his visits to two churches within Osogbo metropolis in continuation of the campaign against COVID-19.
During the visit to the Deeper Life Bible Church and Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministry churches, Oyintiloye harped on the need by the residents to obey all the protocols laid down by the government for COVID-19 containment, emphasising that “the second wave of the disease is deadlier.
“I urge the congregation to sustain compliance with the COVID-19 guidelines so as to avoid community transmission.
“While we continue to maintain strict obedience to the government directives, we should also take the battle to spiritual realm in a bid to save our land from the devilish nature of the pandemic.”
A statement by Oyintiloye further said the state Overseer of Deeper Life Bible Church, Pastor Oguntunyi F.K and Pastor Tunde Okesina of Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministry, in separate remarks, commended the proactive efforts of Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s administration in the containment of COVID-19 in the state. They emphasised the need for church to sustain the compliance with the protocols.
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