Awka – Anambra State Government has revealed that 33,691 Ndi Anambra have received the first dose of phase one COVID-19 vaccination with no major adverse effects.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala disclosed this in Awka during the flag-off ceremony on Tuesday, of the second dose of phase one COVID-19 vaccination in Anambra, held at the state immunization cold store, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Awka.
Anambra state had on the 10th of March 2021 received its first delivery of 78,810 doses of Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccines, which has been certified safe by foreign and local agencies including NAFDAC.
The phase one of the vaccination roll out, had prioritized the health workers, the military, the para-military and other strategic leaders in the state.
At least 86 percent of the targeted population was reached with the first dose of COVID-19 Vaccines.
Performing the flag -off exercise on behalf of the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, the Anambra Health Commissioner, Dr Okpala reassured Anambra citizens of the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines as he revealed that 33,691 Ndi Anambra have received the first dose of phase one COVID-19 vaccination with no major adverse effects.
He explained that the essence of the second dose is to ensure immunity against the ravaging virus.
“The commitment of the Anambra State Government in receiving and providing the logistics for the administration of the vaccines, speak to our commitment as a government towards the health wellbeing of Anambra citizens. We are concerned about the ravages of this deadly virus in even developed countries and that is why we want to stay ahead in the uptake,” he said.
Okpala called on people of the state to embrace the opportunity to help enthrone a COVID-19 free Anambra.
“I wish to state that the vaccine cannot replace other effective public health measures, and the state will continue to promote the recommended COVID-19 safety non-pharmaceutical measures such as use of Face Mask, regular hand-washing, social distancing, avoidance of crowded areas among others,” Okpala noted.
The Executive Secretary, Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu during the event commended the commitment of the state government in the fight against COVID-19 as well as the input of the partnering agencies including WHO and UNICEF and assured the agency will leave no stone unturned to ensure that Anambra state achieves health immunity.
Dr Ezenyimulu revealed that the next phase of the vaccination will be for people aged 80 and 50 years who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension before the last group- people between 18 to 50 years.
She further harped on the need for urgent intervention of Governor Obiano in the employment of health workers as their staff keep retiring without being replaced.
On behalf of the partnering agencies, the World Health Organization, WHO Consultant in Anambra State, Dr Edward Okeke assured of the continued support of development partners, as Anambra has shown great commitment since the outbreak of the virus.
He regretted that the phase one of the vaccination roll out has suffered nagging issues of vaccine hesitancy among the people and health workers, saying the WHO and other partners have articulated the challenges and the lessons learned, as a working document to guide the implementation of the second dose vaccination in the state.
Okeke, who noted that although no vaccine is totally free from reactions, the COVID vaccines are safe and effective against Coronavirus, and the benefits far outweigh the adverse effects.
“We have seen what is happening in countries like India where they have over 4,000 deaths a day as a result of this virus. In anticipation of the third waave of COVID-19, we are presented with two choices- either we stand up now and use the vaccine as a weapon or we still idle and watch the virus destroy our lives as it is doing in India. We must work together to ensure that we shore up the uptake of these vaccines in order to generate the required health immunity which will guarantee the health protection of our people,” he said.