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Over 3m vulnerable persons need COVID-19 vaccine, says minister



The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, on Monday, announced that over three million vulnerable persons were in need of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Speaking at the National briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, in Abuja, Farouq said the ministry would be working with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), to reach this category of people across the country.

“The Ministry is now working to support vulnerable persons under our purview that require vaccination in line with the NPHCDA’s plan to reach this group in the second phase.

“Data mined from the National Social Register and various agencies and parastatals under the ministry, has now shown that over 3 million persons need the vaccination,” she said.

She said the vulnerable group, include the elderly, Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs), Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and the vulnerable poor.

She stated that a proper sensitization exercise would be conducted before the administration of COVID-19 vaccine.

“We will ensure that they are properly sensitized of the risks and side effects and receive psychosocial support from our social workers, issues and co-morbidities will be considered before they are administered these vaccines,” she stressed.

It was reported that the country received 3.94 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines in early March, and vaccination had since commenced starting with healthcare workers, who often faced the risk of infections being the first responders to patients.

Meanwhile, the country has received 300,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from telecoms giant, MTN, on Sunday, according to the Chairman of PTF on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha.

The federal government said it aimed to vaccinate approximately 109 million people against the COVID-19 virus over the next two years, beginning with the eligible population of 18 years and above, including pregnant women.

“The vaccine roll-out will be in four phases; starting with health workers, frontline workers, COVID-19 rapid response team, laboratory network, policemen, petrol station workers and strategic leaders,” according to the Executive Director NPHCDA. Faisal Shuaib, who also identified the phases thus:

“Phase 2 – Older adults aged 50 years and above. Those with co-morbidities aged 18 – 49 years of age

“Phase 3 – Those in states/LGAs with high disease burden and who missed phases 1 and 2.

“Phase 4 – Other eligible population as vaccines become available,” Shuaib added.

Abujah Racheal

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