The Federal Government on Monday launched a strategy for the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine in a phased and equitable manner.
The strategy code-named: ”T• E• A• C• H” was initiated by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health(FMOH).
“T: Traditional method of vaccinating target populations using desk review of available data sources, identifying the vaccination sites and rolling out; E: Electronic self-registration for health workers and the public; a link which provides an online form will be provided; A: Assisted electronic registration; C: Concomitant e-registration during the walk into fixed sites/health facilities; H: House-to-House registration using volunteers for an additional push to rapidly increase the e-registration.”
Speaking at the inauguration, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the launch of T.E.A.C.H and Electronic Management of Immunization Data (EMID) will ensure the smooth rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign across the country
“Our goal is to introduce COVID-19 vaccine in a phased and equitable manner, based on the advice of the WHO and the experience we observe other countries to have made, and ultimately vaccinating all eligible Nigerians within the next two years, to ensure herd immunity.
“We in Nigeria finally have the privilege of joining other countries to start the vaccination, which will prioritise, first those people most at risk of infection due to their exposure in the line of duty,” he said.
”Vaccination with safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a critical part of the country’s strategy to counter the COVID-19 pandemic and the stop transmission of the virus.
”No private hospital or organisation has experience in handling this type of vaccine than the NPHCDA,” he said.
The minister also said that vaccines that were not approved by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) would be determined as dangerous and would be seized by the Nigeria Customs Services.
The minister noted that in less than 24 hours, the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines would arrive the country from the COVAX Facility and would be deployed.
Also speaking, Dr Walter Kazadi, World Health Organisation (WHO), Country Representative, said that the country had led an exemplary response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On behalf of the WHO and all Development Partners, I wish to congratulate all Nigerians for this important milestone.“Congratulations Nigeria,” Kazadi said.
In his remarks, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said a lot of work had been done to reduce the casualty of COVID-19 on the country’s population.
Ihekweazu, who was represented by Head of Special Projects and Partnerships at NCDC, Dr Priscilla Ibekwe said that as the agency sister agency, the NPHCDA was prepared to lead the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
The NCDC, he said, would work in solidarity with them to ensure a successful campaign.
“As the country’s public health institute, our focus remains to contribute to stronger health systems, to serve Nigerians into the future,” he assured.
Also speaking, NAFDAC Director-General, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, said that the government would ensure that there is no falsification in the supply chain of the COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
Adeyeye said that the government would also undertake regular ”pharmacovigilance” activities to ensure there were no side effects of the vaccine.
The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, while unpacking the T•E•A•C•H Strategy, said it was an Indigenous approach to COVID-19 Vaccination in the country.
Shuaib said that the Country has provided an e-registration link to enable Nigerians to register for the COVID-19 vaccines themselves, to obtain their pre-vaccination numbers and schedule their
The NPHCDA boss said that the first phase of the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country would target front-line health workers, COVID-19 rapid response teams, laboratory network, petrol station workers and strategic leaders.
“We will be bringing this experience to the COVID-19 vaccination and reduce hitches.
“They will need to be scheduled for this by filling the EMID. Those who are not health workers will be made aware of when they can get their turn.
“Those who can’t fill the EMID will be assisted, and for those who don’t have access to the EMID house-to-house registration will be carried out to get them on the database for vaccination using T.E.A.C.H,” he explained.
According to him, How COVID-19 will be rolled out, Phase 1- healthcare workers, security agents, first responders, petrol station workers, laboratory workers, and strategic political leadership.
“Phase 2 – adults aged 50 years and above and those with underlying conditions aged 18-49.
“Phase 3 – people in LGAs with a high population of Covid-19 infection that missed phase 1 and 2 and Phase 4 – everybody else,” he explained.
NAN reports that Nigeria is scheduled to take delivery of 3. 92 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, a global scheme to procure and distribute inoculations for free, as the world races to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVAX Facility is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), with UNICEF as a key implementing partner.
The COVAX was launched in April 2020, to help ensure a fairer distribution of coronavirus vaccines between rich and poor nations, said it would deliver two billion doses to its members by the end of 2021. (NAN)