By Chukwudi Nwauba/Nnedinma Okeke

Awka, March 17, 2021 (MOI) Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala has announced that COVID-19 vaccination will take off in Anambra state from March 18 to March 27.

Dr Okpala announced this during a news briefing on COVID-19 Vaccine Introduction in his office at the Jerome Udoji Secretariat Complex, Awka.

The commissioner assured Ndi Anambra of the safety of the vaccine and explained that the COVID-19 registration and vaccination would be free of charge in the state.

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

“Remember that vaccination is not a substitute for discontinuation of observation of COVID-19 protocols.

“All the COVID-19 preventive measures and protocols are still in place and must be observed until further directives from the appropriate authorities.”

Dr Okpala noted that the vaccine received was a product of rigorous scientific processes and certified as safe by multiple foreign agencies like World Head Organisation (WHO), as well as local agencies like National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

According to him, the main objective of the COVID-19 vaccine introduction is to slow down and disrupt the transmission of the virus in all parts of the world.

The commissioner assured of the effective and efficient introduction of the vaccine in the state while listing the targeted group in the phase to include – the frontline health workers, strategic leaders, and frontline workers (non-health).

“To facilitate easy documentation of the vaccination process, all the targeted persons in phase one of the vaccine introductions are expected to use this link: electronic self registration.

“Also provided are the Anambra State Public Health Emergency Operation Numbers 09034668319 and 09034663273 for easy flow of information,’’ he said.

Dr Okpala noted that on March 2, Nigeria took delivery of an estimated number of 4 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine and out of which Anambra State received 78,810 doses on March 11.

He commended the State Government, WHO, National Primary HealthCare Development Agency (NPHCDA) on the successful rolling out of COVID-19 vaccines in the state.

Others are Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Presidential Taskforce and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

In a welcome remark, the Executive Secretary, Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu urged front line health workers, people in the age bracket to come out en masse to receive the vaccine.

“We are aware that COVID-19 ravaged countries of the world, we are happy to say this is the time of hope, which is this stage of vaccination as we continue to live our normal lives

 WHO State Coordinator, Dr Chukwumuanya Igboekwu commended the State government for its proactive measures in curbing the spread of the virus and expressed WHO’s readiness to always provide support to the state when necessary.

In attendance during the event are, Permanent Secretary, Mr. Linus Nwankwo, Dr. Uchechukwu Onyejimbe, Director of Public Health/Diseases Control, Mrs. Edith Egbuonu, Director of Pharmaceutical Services, and Dr. Ugochukwu Chukwulobelu, Director Medical Services. Others are Mr. Abel Okoli, Director of Accounts, Mrs. Edith Nwachukwu, Head Planning Research and Statistics, and Mrs. Uju Onwuegbuzina, State Health Educator. (MOI)

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