Nigeria surpasses 30% Covid-19 vaccination milestone
February 6, 2023150 views0 comments
By Ben Eguzozie
Received 91m vaccines & extra $27.7m for rollout
Africa gets 669m vaccines
Nigeria has maintained a sustained COVID-19 vaccination rollout in recent months and surpassed the milestone of fully vaccinating 30 percent of its total population, according to information from the World Health Organisation (WHO) dashboard.
The increase moved from less than three percent coverage with a primary series in January 2022 to over 30 percent in January this year (2023), described as being as a result of “dedicated efforts by the government and stakeholders in rolling out relevant strategies to sustain COVID-19 vaccination amidst competing health priorities”.
Key drivers behind the success of this year’s drive include leadership and improved coordination at the local, state and national levels, as well as innovation such as the increase of mobile vaccination sites. With more teams being supported to take the vaccines to communities, rather than wait for visits to facilities, missed opportunities are being reduced, the global health body said.
WHO said the country also adopted a strategy to track the performance of the vaccination teams in the various states through the daily call-in data. Performance of states are being ranked, and this is disseminated daily on social media and provides healthy competition across the states.
Richard Mihigo, director of COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery, Coordination and Integration at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which leads on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX, said Nigeria’s progress has become a case study on how to roll out COVID-19 vaccines at scale and speed, and at the same time, catch up on routine immunisation programmes.
“The country’s surveillance systems are efficient and precise, enabling monitoring of trends as well as promptly responding to counter vaccine misinformation increasing acceptability of the vaccines,” Mihigo said.
He informed that, to ensure continued momentum, Gavi in December (2022) approved a new round of COVID-19 vaccine delivery support (CDS) availing $27.7 million, which will go to further accelerate the rollout of vaccines.
“Gavi is proud to support Nigeria’s efforts and congratulates it on the progress it has made to date on protecting its population,” he added.
Additionally, Nigeria has also set up the COVID-19 Crisis Communication Centre (CRICC) at the national and state levels, which ensured that targeted demand generation activities were adopted and rolled out across the country. The vaccination rollout process was maintained through campaigns and initiatives with the support of stakeholders including Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
COVAX, which Gavi co-leads with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), WHO and UNICEF, said it has supplied over 91 million COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria, which is about 65 percent of all vaccines received; and over 669 million to the African continent.
The country has also developed an integrated micro-plan featuring routine immunisation alongside COVID-19 vaccinations with a bottom-up approach taking into account individual state’s plans.
It has also integrated a service delivery approach with teams empowered to provide multiple arrays of services – COVID-19 vaccination, routine immunisation ensuring that other key health services were not neglected.
COVAX has since shipped 1.8 billion doses, ensuring all countries have COVID-19 vaccines to protect their populations. At least, 92 lower-income countries supported by the Gavi COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC), have reached now an average of 52 percent coverage with a primary series vaccination (two doses) of COVID-19 vaccines – meaning nearly two billion people have been protected – vital progress towards closing the vaccine equity gap.
In January 2022, coverage across the 92 AMC-supported countries stood at 31 percent on average, with 34 countries below 10 percent. Today only seven countries – all representing fragile and conflict settings with complex systemic challenges – remain below 10 percent.
Through the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, launched by Gavi, WHO and UNICEF, COVAX has been providing tailored support to the countries below 10 percent coverage, helping them overcome delivery bottlenecks.
Gavi has been supporting immunisation in Africa since 2000.