COVID-19: Nigeria has met 70% vaccination target – Official


By Abujah Racheal

  Nigeria successfully met its ambitious target of fully vaccinating 70 per cent of its population against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Bassey Okposen, Director of Disease Control and Immunization in the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday in Abuja.

NAN reports that Nigeria had a target of fully vaccinating 70 per cent of its eligible population by December 2022.

”The  70 per cent coverage with COVID-19 vaccines in all countries is a global imperative.  In Nigeria, 70 per cent of eligible persons in Nigeria are fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” he said.

He said that 80 per cent of eligible persons in the country were at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19 and 17.5 million fully vaccinated persons in Nigeria have received additional COVID-19 vaccines as booster doses

He said that as of Oct. 1, 132,212,099 vaccine doses have been administered in the country.

He said that six states have achieved 100 per cent of the target population vaccinated in the country.

“These states are Nasarawa, Jigawa, Osun, Kaduna, Kano and Adamawa,” he said.

He said that the milestone marks a crucial step in the country’s efforts to combat the ongoing pandemic and safeguard the health and well-being of its citizens.

“With an unwavering commitment to public health, Nigeria’s vaccination campaign has surpassed expectations, demonstrating the nation’s determination to control the spread of the virus and protect its population from the devastating impacts of COVID-19,” he said.

He said that vaccinating 70 per cent of a country’s population against COVID-19 means that a significant portion of the population has received the required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“This level of vaccination coverage is often considered a crucial milestone in achieving herd immunity and controlling the spread of the virus within a population.

“Herd immunity, also known as population immunity, occurs when a large proportion of a community becomes immune to a disease, either through vaccination or previous infection.

“When a high percentage of the population is immune, it creates a barrier that prevents the virus from easily spreading from person to person.

“This not only protects those who are vaccinated but also provides indirect protection to those who are unable to receive the vaccine due to medical conditions or other factors,” he explained.

He said that by vaccinating 70 per cent of the population against COVID-19, a country greatly reduces the risk of widespread transmission, severe illness, and death caused by the virus.

“It also helps to alleviate the burden on healthcare systems and allows for a gradual return to normalcy, including the reopening of businesses, schools, and other public spaces.

“However, it is important to note that achieving a 70 per cent vaccination rate does not mean the end of the pandemic.

“The virus can still circulate among unvaccinated individuals, and new variants may emerge, requiring ongoing monitoring and potential updates to vaccination strategies,” he said.

He, however, urged Nigerians to continue adherence to public health measures, such as wearing masks, for those with Co mobilities, practising good hygiene, and maintaining social distancing, which remains crucial even with high vaccination rates in the country.

Speaking on strategies being used by the country, he explained that several strategies including SCALES 3.0 (SCALES is an acronym for Service delivery, Communication, Accountability, Logistics, Electronic management of immunization data and supportive supervision), integration of COVID-19 into routine immunization, have been employed to deliver the vaccine to target populations. 

NAN reports that according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention(NCDC), official website as of Oct. 31, 2023, over 5,708,974 samples have been tested, 266,675 cases have been confirmed, and 259,953 cases have been discharged from the virus.

Meanwhile, there are currently 3,567 active cases and 3,155 deaths.

Since the COVID-19 vaccination began in the U.S. in mid-December 2020, Africa has been looking forward to its turn. For Nigeria, that time came on March 2, 2021, when the first batch of 3.9 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the country from the Serum Institute of India.

Also since the vaccination campaign began in the country. Seven vaccines have been approved for use in Nigeria, three of them are approved for clinical trials.

The vaccines are Moderna: Spikevax, Pfizer/BioNTech: Comirnaty, Gamaleya: Sputnik V, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson): Jcovden, Oxford/AstraZeneca: Vaxzevria, Serum Institute of India: Covishield (Oxford/ AstraZeneca formulation), and Sinopharm (Beijing): Covilo.

The three of them approved for clinical trials are Pfizer/BioNTech: Comirnaty

Vaccine Type: RNA, this vaccine may also be referred to as Tozinameran, BNT162b2, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson): Jcovden and Oxford/AstraZeneca: Vaxzevria, this vaccine may also be referred to as AZD1222, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. (NAN)