Following the directive by the Federal Government that states should only utilise half of the doses of the COVID-19 vaccines allocated to them, no fewer than 14 states have currently exceeded the 50 per cent benchmark.
It explained that the reason for the directive was to ensure that those who receive their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine would be guaranteed their second dose when the time comes.
It stated that it is not sure when the next batch of the expected vaccines will arrive in the country.
According to data from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), as of 1st of April, 2021, 14 states have exceeded 50 of their target population for vaccination. The states are: Adamawa (55.1 per cent), Bauchi (86.4 per cent), Edo (52.4 percent), Ekiti (83.0 per cent), Jigawa (70.3 per cent), Kaduna (55.3 per cent), Katsina (71.6 per cent), Kwara (107.5 per cent), Lagos (60.0 per cent), Nasarawa (51.7 per cent), Ogun (91.3 per cent), Ondo (78.8 per cent), Osun (62.4 per cent), and Yobe (61.2 percent).
Speaking during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on covid-19 in Abuja yesterday, Minister of State for Health Dr Olorunimbe Mamora said: “It is true that states have been given a directive to vaccinate half of the doses deployed to them.
“We believe that in a situation where we still cannot specifically determine when the next batch of AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive, well I think wisdom only dictates that it is better for us to vaccinate people fully so that we can say that we have a pool of citizens that have been fully vaccinated, since this vaccination comes in two doses.
“So, that is what gave rise to that directive, rather than just going ahead with just a single dose when the full dose should be two doses of the vaccine. We thought that it is proper for us in the circumstance to ensure that those who have been vaccinated have been fully vaccinated by the time we fully utilise the doses available.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the transition of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19.
This was announced during the task force’s news conference in Abuja yesterday by the PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha.
The transitioning of the body, which has managed the nation’s national response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria, came after a year that the PTF was constituted by the President.
According to Mustapha, the new structure, which will still be headed by him, will function till the end of 2021.
He added that, among other terms of operation of the PSC, Dr. Mukhtar Muhammad, who had functioned as National Incident Manager (NIM) of the PTF, will officially take over the office of the National Coordinator from Dr. Sani Aliyu, who has returned to the United Kingdom (UK), to resume his private practice.
“The PTF will transition to a Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, effective from 1 April 2021, with a modified mandate to reflect the non-emergent status of COVID-19 as a potentially long-term pandemic.
“The structure of the PSC shall reflect the new focus of the response with a targetted approach on vaccine oversight, risk communication, international travel quarantine processes and sub-national engagement; and that the tenure of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) shall last till December 31, 2021.
“The PSC would maintain the present constitution, functions and strategies of the PTF; be supported by a slim technical and administrative structure.”
Mustapha added that as the country close this phase of the National Response, “the PTF wishes to express its profound gratitude to every individual and organisations that played a part in the National Response. It has not been an easy journey, but your companionship and support helped us forge ahead and accomplish these modest successes.
“Given the developments around the world, we must recognize the fact that the next phase will be challenging, critical and would require extreme vigilance/collaboration” he said.