In a bid to increase vaccination coverage across the country, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) is partnering the Association of Community Pharmacists, towards achieving herd immunity.
Speaking during the flag-off on Tuesday in Abuja, executive director of the NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, acknowledged that community pharmacies are one of the most easily accessible and frequently consulted points of care for health care service delivery by the public sector especially in underserved population due to their interconnectedness with the communities.
He said „In Nigeria, for example, community pharmacies involvement in differentiated care and administration of antiretroviral medicines for HIV care have been shown to improve retention on treatment, adherence to medication, and overall better treatment outcomes.
„In fact, community pharmacists have contributed greatly during the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic through ensuring the availability and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPEs), hand sanitizers, etc. I want to affirm that this synergy will once again enhance our COVID-19 vaccination programme and help the country achieve herd immunity while strengthening the health care system and contributing to health security.
„Many countries around the world have authorised vaccination in community pharmacies, including COVID-19 vaccination. This practice has shown promise in countries like South Africa, the United States of America and United Kingdom to mention but a few, where pharmacies are playing a crucial role in the administration of COVID-19 vaccine.“
Shuaib stated that with over 6000 community pharmacies spread across the country, coupled with the ease of access and long operating hours, it is believed that this will contribute to rapidly increasing vaccination coverage.
„I am excited about this collaboration and I believe it will add zest to the country’s effort to attain the national target of 70 per cent vaccination coverage that is necessary to achieve herd immunity,“ he said.
On vaccination, he said „As of today, Tuesday May 31st 2022, we have vaccinated 30,327,550 persons with the 1st dose, this represents 23.9 per cent of our eligible population while 14,629,451 persons have received their 2nd dose and 18,291,072 have been fully vaccinated which represents 16.4 per cent of our eligible population. 1,229,909 persons have received their booster doses.
„However, we believe that this collaboration is a plausible direction to take if we must reach our national targets within the shortest time possible.“