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By Nnedinma C Okeke 

Awka, June 3, 2021 (MOI) Gov. Willie Obiano has flagged-off the 2nd dose of the phase one COVID-19 vaccination exercise in the state. 

He was represented at the event by Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala. 

According to him the Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (ASPHCDA) is determined and committed at ensuring that the COVID-19 vaccination will be successful in the state. 

Gov. Obiano said this during the flag-off ceremony of second dose of the phase one COVID-19 vaccination at the state Immunisation Cold Store, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital (COOOTH), Amaku, Awka. 

He noted that the event marked the commencement of the second dose of first phase COVID-19 vaccination for those who received the first jab. 

“As usual, we have planned and embarked on several activities that include pre-implementation, implementation, and post-implementation activities to ensure that challenges witnessed during the first dose vaccination are addressed. 

“The vaccination commenced effectively from June 1 – July10 and will be at designated health facilities. 

“We have an average of two vaccination centres per Local Government Area (LGA) with one super and ordinary sites. 

“While these locations will be displayed at the LGA Immunisation office, calling the Anambra State Public Health Emergency Operation will also help update Ndi Anambra on the designated vaccination locations. 

“Two of those numbers are 09034668319 and 09034663273,” Dr Okpala said. 

The Governor, then, enjoined all those that received the first dose to visit the designated vaccination sites in various LGAs to receive their second dose. 

He urged all stakeholders at various levels in the state to support in sensitising their subjects on the benefits and importance of completing their vaccination. 

“Also, vaccination is not a substitute for discontinuation of observation of COVID-19 protocols,’’ he reminded. 

He, then, expressed gratitude to God, the health team and the partners UNICEF, WHO, NPHCDA, NCDC and PTF for making this vaccination experience possible. 

The Executive Secretary, ASPHCDA, Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu noted that the discovery of COVID-19 Vaccine and subsequent mass vaccination campaigns in temperate countries had reduced morbidity and mortality of the COVID-19 disease. 

“We are happy that Nigeria has embraced the hope offered by the vaccines and grateful to COVAX Consortium for the kind donation of four million doses of the AstraZeneca Vaccines to Nigeria. 

“Anambra State received 78,810 doses of the vaccine on 17th of March, 2021 with an instruction to use half of the vaccines and reserve half for the second dose. 

“Since then, we have vaccinated 33,691 Ndi Anambra which is 86 per cent of the target population for the first dose and now set to roll out the second dose vaccination in the state,’’ Dr Ezenyimulu said. 

She noted that it was of tremendous benefit for Ndi Anambra to be fully vaccinated as they had received some immunity from taking the first dose but are now sure of total immunity after taking the second dose. 

The ES urged the people to turn out en masse to receive the vaccines, especially those who had taken the first dose. 

“The duration time from the first to second dose is between six to 12 weeks. So anybody who has taken the first dose and it is up to six weeks is free to come for the second dose,’’ Dr Ezenyimulu. 

She commended Gov. Obiano for his sterling leadership, especially in the area of health and achievements of the state under Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) while making a case for the employment of more health workers urgently. 

Dr Ezenyimulu, however, expressed gratitude to the State health team and partners ably led by Commissioner for Health, Dr Okpala and ASPHCDA Board Chairman, Prof Josephat Ogbuagu. 

WHO representative, Dr Edward Okeke on behalf of the partners noting the challenges in implementation of COVID-19 vaccination first dose has been articulated as a working document to guide implementation of second dose vaccination in the state. 

“We have continued to stress that the benefits of being vaccinated far outweigh the feared rare untoward occurrences. It is good that we did not record any major Adverse Event during the first dose rollout. 

“As we are now presented with a second window of opportunity to get vaccinated, I urge everyone to also commit to amplifying the message that vaccines are safe, effective and save lives. 

“We must work together to ensure that we shore up the uptake of this vaccine in order to generate the herd immunity that will guarantee the protection of our people,’’ he emphasised. 

Dr Okeke noted that WHO and other partners were ready to continue to provide Anambra State and Nigeria necessary support and guidance needed to end this Pandemic for good. 

“I believe that with the required financing, strong coordination, dedicated partners and strong community engagement, we can achieve a COVID-free nation,’’ he said. 

Highlight of the event was the COVID-19 second dose of first phase vaccination of some key stakeholders in the state. (MOI)  TON
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