Need to Build on Gains Achieved by COVID 19 Vaccination – WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO), has advised Nigerians to build on the fragile gains of the covid 19 vaccination achieved, given that less than two percent of the total population had been fully vaccinated.

The WHO country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo who said this at a  press briefing on Tuesday, in Abuja said Nigerians must be mindful of discontinuing public health and social measures such as maintaining physical distance, avoiding crowded places and always observing hand hygiene.

He said relaxing them too early could see us losing some of the gains that vaccines have enabled us to make.

Mulombo added that to boost the uptake of vaccines, government, traditional and religious institutions as well as community influencers need to scale up operations, investments on operational costs and step up sensitization efforts to address vaccine hesitancy.

He noted that as Nigeria anticipates use of multiple vaccine types, it was important to draw up strategies that would ensure vaccine doses were efficiently administered, with rollout plans aiming for a high uptake in priority population groups and providing equitable access to achieve significant vaccination coverage.

Mulombo added that countries deploying multiple vaccines like Nigeria had provided useful lessons as to how to administer them by rolling out vaccines with a shorter shelf life first.

He stated that the WHO would continue to support the Nigerian government to implement measures that would maximize the impact of the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination, including simplifying the rollout at local levels as well as minimizing wastage.

According to Mulombo, the WHO’s record shows that weekly COVID-19 deaths in Africa has reached a record peak in the week to August 1, marking the highest seven-day toll since the onset of the pandemic in the continent.

He said Africa is still in the throes of its third wave, recording more cases than any earlier peak.

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