Anambra State Government on Monday said it is considering enforcing compulsory COVID-19 vaccination in the state, beginning with civil servants.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala disclosed this today during a press briefing to mark the commencement of mass vaccination campaign for COVID-19 in the state.
The campaign which is in line with the new direction of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, is aimed at achieving herd immunity.
The mass vaccination campaign is to span from tomorrow 7th December, till Wednesday 5th January, 2022.
Speaking at a briefing to mark the rollout, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala disclosed that the goal is to ensure that 50 percent of the eligible population is vaccinated against COVID-19 by end of January 2022.
He noted that the state Government is sleeplessly concerned about the challenges of protecting Anambra residents against Covid-19 and tackling its associated economic setback amidst vaccine hesitancy and sustained disinformation.
“This concern is even higher now that the year is ending and as most of ndi Anambra is preparing to come home for Christmas celebration.
“Christmas period is marked by large and frequent gathering for social events.
“Since these events often present a super-spreader opportunity for the Covid-19 virus, we need to be proactive in managing the risks associated with these events.
“This is one of the major reasons the National Primary Health Care Development Agency came up with the idea of Mass vaccination, which for our state will officially be flagged off on Tuesday,” he disclosed.
According to the Commissioner, the mass vaccination is a carefully designed service delivery strategy that aims to rapidly increase the number of fully vaccinated eligible persons, which will fast track the state economic and social recovery, and also vaccinate 50% of our eligible population by January 2022.
He said; “As of today, about 113,218 Anambra people have either received their 1st or second doses of Covid-19 vaccine.
“To achieve herd immunity, we are calling on Anambra residents aged 18 years and above to kindly walk into any mass vaccination site or designated health facility to get vaccinated.
“These vaccines are available for eligible persons who have not been vaccinated at all and others who have received their first dose.
“As a matter of fact, since we just got approval to commence administration of booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines, we also encourage our people to take their booster doses if it has been 6 months since they received their 2nd dose.
“While booster doses will commence on the 10th of Dec, we will make provision for early birds who would like to get this at the flag off of the mass vaccination campaign tomorrow.”
The health Commissioner revealed that the state is seriously considering a scaled vaccine mandate starting with civil servants as is already the case at the federal level and some other parts of the world.
“Our loved ones have died as a result of the disease and the disease has put enormous pressure on the state resources in terms of surveillance and treatment, and personnel.
“When the virus is contracted by someone, they are not just affected but are also putting everyone at risk.
“So, the decision to take the vaccine must be seen as a matter of responsibility and not just a matter of personal conviction,” he emphasized.
The Executive Secretary of the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu said since March 2021 when the vaccination commenced, over 110,000 Anambra people have been vaccinated, adding that the vaccines provide hope against the virus.
Speaking on behalf of the partners, a Senior Supervisor with the NPHCDA, Mr George Uzoigwe commended what the state is doing in the area of fighting the virus and urged every resident of the state to get the vaccine for their own benefit.