COVID-19: Booster dose vaccination begins today — FG

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*Says no vaccinated person has died in Nigeria

*Flags off mass vaccination in IDPs camps

THE Federal Government said yesterday that the administration of booster dose to persons fully vaccinated with either two doses of AstraZeneca, Moderna or Pfizer Bio-N-Tech or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine will begin today.

The government described the booster dose as another opportunity to be further protected against COVID-19, calling on eligible persons to go for the vaccination. The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, who disclosed these while flagging off mass vaccination of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in Abuja yesterday, said the country had so far recorded no casualty among vaccinated persons.

He said: “Following the detection of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in Nigeria, the Federal Government reviewed the country’s vaccination programme and resolved to introduce the booster dose, using the Pfizer Bio-N-Tech vaccine across the country.

This will take effect as from tomorrow (today), Friday, December 10, 2021. It is pertinent to reiterate the fact that the Nigerian COVID-19 vaccination programme is science-driven.“Evidence has shown that the booster dose further increases protection against the virus. Eligibility for the booster dose includes being 18 years and above, fully vaccinated with either two doses of AstraZeneca, Moderna or Pfizer Bio-N-Tech or a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

The time interval before the booster dose is at least six months for these vaccines, except the Johnson & Johnson which is at least two months.“This is another opportunity to be further protected. I, therefore, urge all those who have taken the right decision to be fully vaccinated to walk into the nearest vaccination site for their booster dose as from tomorrow (today).“I want to reassure everyone that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and efficacious. We have in place the required measures and precautions to ensure vaccine monitoring and accountability.

We are committed to ensure that our vaccination teams will be available on site here and in other camps daily until every eligible person has received their vaccines. I, therefore, urge camp leaders to take responsibility and ensure all members are fully vaccinated.

“Please do not hesitate to demand for the vaccines if the teams stop coming and there are still unvaccinated persons in the camp. It is your right to get vaccinated.”

The NPHCDA emphasized that taking the COVID-19 vaccine was not just an act of self-protection but  a civic duty to curtail the spread of the virus in IDP camps and  Nigeria.

“ Every one of us has a critical role to play in mobilizing our friends, families, and camp mates to the vaccination site. Remember, no one is safe from COVID-19 until everyone is safe.

“Even after vaccination, let us continue to wear our face masks, wash our hands frequently, observe physical distancing and avoid large gatherings until Nigeria achieves full vaccination of all its eligible population,” he said.

Explaining that the vaccination was being done to fast-track the coverage of all eligible persons,  he said:  “ Our special attention on the IDP camps underscores  government’s recognition of the vulnerable conditions of our friends and families who are temporarily here.”

“Today (yesterday), December 9, 2021, 7,361,810 Nigerians have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and this represents 6.6% of the eligible population.

“3,846,762 eligible Nigerians have received their second doses and are fully vaccinated against the virus representing 3.4% of the eligible population.

“Despite the challenges of large-scale misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, Nigeria has successfully vaccinated over seven million eligible persons, and I am glad to inform that none of these persons has died as a result of receiving COVID-19 vaccine.

“It is important to mention that the decision of over 7 million Nigerians to take the COVID-19 vaccine has been based on their rightful conviction that the vaccines are safe and effective in protecting them against the disease.

“We appreciate the courage, resilience and patriotism that Nigerians have continued to demonstrate in accepting to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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