The Lagos State Government has commenced its COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination programme, while setting up 88 centres for administration of the vaccine to enhance the immunity and health of its citizens.
Prof. Akin Abayomi, the Commissioner for Health, disclosed this during a media briefing on the Official Rollout, Distribution and Administration of COVID-19 vaccines in Lagos on Friday, March 12, 2021.
Abayomi said that the commencement of the vaccine at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH), Yaba, would involve inoculation of the state governor, members of his cabinet and some frontline healthcare workers.
He said that three centres namely IDH Yaba, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Metta, would begin vaccination on Friday for frontline healthcare workers.
He said that the other centres spread across various local government areas of the state would start their vaccination on Monday.
The commissioner listed those qualified to be inoculated in the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout as medical personnel, police, military, judiciary and port health officials.
According to him, citizens 50 years and above with comorbidities were also eligible to receive the vaccine.
He said that the phase two would have 18 to 49 years and those with comorbidities vaccinated, phase three and four would include everyone interested in receiving the vaccine, especially in high burden local government areas.
Abayomi disclosed that pregnant women and children under 18 years were exempted from the vaccine, saying that they weren’t included in the clinical trials.
He said that an online portal would be opened to facilitate easy registration for the vaccine, advising those not listed in the priority list not to register.
He further said that the AstraZeneca vaccine has two doses, with the second dose taking up to 12 weeks apart from the first dose.
“After the first dose, you will have 60 per cent protection and up to 80 per cent after the second dose.
“Note that you might still contract COVID-19 after vaccination, but the level of severity might not be much after achieving this level of immunity,” he said.
The commissioner also said that the risk of not taking the vaccine outweighs that of being inoculated, adding that it would assist the state and Nigeria achieve herd immunity.
Abayomi appealed to citizens to submit themselves to be vaccinated when it gets to their turn as the vaccine was a global responsibility to slow down the disruption of the virus.
He commended the Federal Government for providing financial and technical assistance for the state to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in the last 12 months.
The commissioner said that the state received 507,742 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the Federal Government, saying it would help to boost it’s COVID-19 response.
Mr Gbenga Omotoso, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, said that the vaccine rollout was a landmark event that would halt the catastrophic effect of COVID-19.
Omotoso appealed to the media to continue to assist in disseminating information that would educate and promote the health and wellbeing of the citizens.
Also, Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said that the AstraZeneca vaccine was safe and advised residents against hesitancy.
Shuaib, represented by Mrs Omar Oto, a Director in the Agency, assured residents of the availability of the vaccines as the Federal Government was scheduled to receive more vaccines in May.
By Oluwafunke Ishola and Florence Onuegbu