BY DAVID ADUGE-ANI, Ejike Ejike and Patience Ihejirika, Abuja, FEMI OYEWESO, Abeokuta
Three days after the launch of the COVID-19 vaccination exercise by the federal government, vaccination of residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the 65 designated centres is yet to commence.
Chairman of the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19 and secretary to government of the federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, while flagging off the exercise on Friday in Abuja on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari said there were 65 designated vaccination centres for the FCT.
Executive director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, who was at the ceremony, said the vaccination centres could be electronically accessed and generated via the link, https://nphcdaict.com.ng/publicreg/, which could be found on the website of the federal ministry of health.
He added that by clicking on the link, the individual would be required to provide some pieces of personal information including the residential address and local government of residence, while filling in the information automatically generates the closest vaccination centre where one could be inoculated.
But investigation by our reporter has revealed that some residents, who visited some of the centres in the FCT, were disappointed as there was nothing on ground to provide the needed services, while some even complained that the links provided were not even opening or are not accessible.
A resident of Wuse Abuja, Alex Obong, told LEADERSHIP that every effort to locate the vaccination centre in the designated areas proved abortive as all the areas he visited were not opened for services.
He said, “I have tried to locate the COVID-19 vaccination centre in Wuse, where I live, but I have not seen anywhere the services are being provided.”
Another resident who registered for vaccination on Saturday and was referred to a health facility, The Clinics, in Karu as her vaccination centre discovered that nothing was happening at the centre.
She said even though she knew that the available vaccines for now are for health workers, she decided to go to the center for further enquiries when she found out that the phone number on the portal for enquiry was switched off.
On getting to the Abuja Clinics where she was referred to, she said her experience was disappointing as she was told that nothing was going on there and that the clinic was yet to receive any notice to that regard.
Meanwhile, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has continued to keep silent on the actual locations of the 65 designated COVID-19 vaccination centres in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Efforts by LEADERSHIP to get the locations of the centres in Abuja yesterday turned out to be futile, as the relevant authorities in the administration failed to disclose the locations.
But the FCT COVID-19 coordinator, Dr Matthew Ashikeni, told our reporter on telephone that the centres are not functional because the administration is yet to receive its consignment of the vaccines from the NPHCDA.
He said not until the consignments are received the centres would not be opened for services.
It was also gathered at the weekend that the FCT and the 36 states of the federation are planning to launch their version of the COVID-19 vaccination exercise for residents of the states and the Abuja within the week.
Acting secretary, FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS), Dr Mohammed Kawu, who spoke through the head of media, publicity and enlightenment, Ikharo Attah, in a telephone interview in Abuja noted that the administration would unveil the 65 locations for the vaccines during the launch.
But a source close to the administration told LEADERSHIP yesterday that the designated vaccination centres cut across the 62 wards of the territory, with Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) edging other area councils slightly.
The source who did not want his name in print disclosed that Abaji, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kuje and Kwali area councils of the FCT would respectively house 10 vaccination points, while AMAC would have 15 vaccination points due to the population of the area council.
He added that the centres are ready and equipped to receive the vaccines as soon as the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) begins the nationwide rollout.
States Receive COVID-19 Vaccines Today
Meanwhile, the executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, has said COVID -19 vaccines have been deployed and states will start receiving them today.
Speaking at the daily national briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Shuaib said, “The movement of vaccines to the states has commenced today.
“All things being equal, the delivery of the vaccines will be completed tomorrow (Tuesday). The delivery of the vaccines to the states is predicated on satisfactorily meeting the conditions to keep them safe and potent. We are designating vaccine accountability officers in the States and LGAs to closely monitor the management and utilization of the vaccines. These VAOs will also ensure retrieval of vaccine vials for proper disposal.
“Recall that we officially launched our homegrown T.E.A.C.H. strategy of electronic registration of our citizens for the vaccination programme. This is the first time in our immunization programme that the target population would be pre-registered for efficient and orderly scheduling of date and time to receive the vaccine, which will be carried out in phases/pulses according to predetermined classifications.
“All persons 18 years and above, beginning with the frontline health workers and the elderly are therefore encouraged to register for the vaccination, through our COVID-19 vaccination e-registration portal available on our website (www.nphcda.gov.ng).”
He urged the media and all stakeholders involved in the public health intervention to do all they can to promote the e-registration under the Electronic Immunization Data Management Scheme as this structure will be further deployed for future public health interventions.
Ogun Takes Delivery Of 100, 000 Vaccine Doses
Meanwhile, in Ogun State, the governor, Dapo Abiodun, yesterday took delivery of 50,000 doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine donated to the state by the Federal Government.
The governor received the vaccines at the Governor’s office, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, shortly after the arrival of the state team led by commissioner of health, Dr Tomi Coker.
Abiodun told journalists that Ogun is the first state to receive the vaccines, saying the 50,000 doses make the first batch of vaccines expected.
He added that another batch of 50,000 doses was expected to arrive before the end of today.
Nigeria’s index case for COVID-19 came through Ogun after an Italian national arrived on 27 February 2020.
Abiodun said he and his deputy, Engineer Noimot Salako-Oyedele, would lead the vaccination at a later date to be fixed by the state medical team.
The governor, however, warned against snubbing of safety protocols, saying vaccines would only reduce the severity of the virus.