Lagos steps up the fight against COVID-19
Lagos – the epicentre of COVID-19 in Nigeria – is ramping up its vaccination campaign, with committed leaders and ambitious targets.
11 November 2021 – by Royal Ibeh
Lagos State has been the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, hosting more than a third of the country’s 212,894 cases. As Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), says, this makes the region a key focus of the national vaccination campaign.
“We are confident that, with the hands-on leadership of the Governor and the ‘can-do’ spirit of Lagosians, the target of four million is achievable.”
“The critical position of Lagos as the major gateway into the country has made it very vulnerable,” he says. “What we have therefore set out to do is to proactively ensure that as our citizens who live abroad return home for Christmas, Lagosians are not infected with new strains of the virus. As you are aware, there is already a fourth wave in the UK. We do not want a fourth wave of COVID-19 in Lagos or anywhere in Nigeria for that matter.”
As of 26 October, over 5.5 million people have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria, with nearly 3 million fully vaccinated. This represents just 5% and 2.6% respectively of the targeted eligible population of 111,776,503.
Lagos State is not resting on its laurels. The state commenced a COVID-19 vaccination campaign on 15 March 2021, with the first phase targeting health workers and frontline workers.
Lagos State is currently in the second phase of its vaccination campaign. It has successfully vaccinated a total of 800,000 people with the first dose of the Moderna vaccine and a total of 310,000 persons fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, still short of its target of four million people fully vaccinated.
“This is why Lagos State has launched a state-wide mass vaccination campaign,” says the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. “The campaign aims to ensure that 4 million residents of the state are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the end of the year. This is spurred by the need for Lagos to achieve herd immunity against the global pandemic and in furtherance of the quest to eliminate opportunities for COVID-19 virus to spread in Lagos communities.”
The Governor adds that that Lagos State and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) are partnering with the private sector in this mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19.
“By leveraging private health facilities and corporate institutions as additional sites for COVID-19 vaccination, it is our hope that we can increase the reach of and access to the available vaccines provided through the generous contributions and donations by the Federal Government and our donors like the COVAX Facility,” he says.
The Governor also detailed plans to set up mass vaccination sites in high traffic locations across the state and use mobile vans that move around settlements to reach individuals in hard-to-reach areas who have limited access to health facilities.
“We are setting up COVID-19 vaccination fixed posts across 205 public health primary centres, 14 secondary and tertiary hospitals, and 400 private health centres across the 57 Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas,” says Sanwo-Olu. “At the core of this campaign is the strengthening of vaccine equity to ensure that every resident of Lagos State has a fair and equal chance to fully access the vaccine regardless of who they are or where they are from, which is key to reducing the unbearable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“I also wish to seek the support of our community leaders in facilitating community participation and mobilisation of eligible individuals above the age of 18 years old to be fully immunised with the COVID-19 vaccine. I salute the health workers that have been diligently and steadfastly administering the COVID-19 vaccines and I wish to assure them that their hard work will be rewarded.”
With this effort, the NPHCDA's Dr Faisal Shuaib concludes, “We are confident that, with the hands-on leadership of the Governor and the ‘can-do’ spirit of Lagosians, the target of four million is achievable.”