By Stanley Nwanosike
Enugu State Government says it has started rolling out COVID-19 vaccines in the 17 Local Government Areas of the state to ensure that health workers, strategic leaders and highly vulnerable get their jabs.
Dr George Ugwu, Executive Secretary of the Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday that the vaccination exercise would last 10 days.
NAN recalls that about 12 days ago, the state government received 65,400 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Abuja.
The state, through its ENS-PHCDA, had trained and prepared 102 vaccination teams, which comprises of over 450 Primary Health Care (PHC) workers and health educators for this first batch of vaccination.
Ugwu noted that the vaccines had a successful launch in the state and had been embraced by key/strategic leaders of the state.
“The State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; his deputy, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo; the state Chief Judge; the Speaker of the state House of Assembly; House members; traditional rulers; all Chief Medical Directors of government-owned hospitals and frontline workers at the COVID-19 isolation centres received their jabs publicly.
“This is to reassure our people that the vaccine is safe, secured and effective; with no side effect. And that what the whole world, national and state governments are doing is not a joke.
“I can confirm to you that all that have received the doses of the vaccine in the state, about 100 people, no one of them had complained of any counter-reaction for the past eight days running.
“However, they are healthier, having no health challenge and health side-effect due to COVID-19 vaccination they received,’’ he said.
Ugwu said that the vaccines would be sent to five PHC centres in each council area, adding that the government before now had supplied at least three solar-powered fridges at PHC centres to complement public electricity supply.
“The vaccine integrity is highly maintained with the solar-powered cold-chain fridges scattered in our PHC centres and the Astra-Zeneca COVID-19 vaccines have the same temperature sensitivity like our other regular vaccines we administer.
“Also, we have made adequate security arrangement with the council chairmen on provision of security personnel to the cold-chain stores and the vaccinators; while they go about administering the vaccine,’’ he said.
The executive secretary noted that this phase of the vaccination, which had moved to the council areas, would cover about one per cent of the total population.
“This one per cent, which is about 50,000 people, would cover all health workers, strategic leaders at the grassroots and highly vulnerable people – in terms of old age and people with underlying health issues.
“We are still expecting more consignment of the vaccine in subsequent batches that will cover everybody in the state. So, those not captured in this batch will hopefully get theirs as we progress,’’ he assured.
Ugwu applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for supporting ENS-PHCDA financially in meeting the mandate for the COVID-19 vaccine and administering to the people notwithstanding their remote locations in the state. (NAN)