As the festive season draws near and less than 2.9 % of Nigerians are vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine, the Osun State is implementing innovative integrated strategies to increase the percentage of the residents getting vaccinated against the virus.
Osun state, like many others in the country, unveiled a mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign. With support from the WHO, Osun also set up vaccination sites closer to the population and along border settlements, targeting two million (50% of its population) to be fully vaccinated by January 2022.
The WHO State Coordinator, Dr Ahmed Bello, said “The failure to get a large percentage of Nigerians vaccinated leaves the bulk of the population unprotected against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To mitigate against sustained community transmission within the country, we have been adopting several strategies of taking the vaccines closer to the people and have established vaccination posts along the border settlements. Additionally, WHO has supported the state in setting up 46 mass vaccination points across the senatorial districts. The State is also leveraging the existing polio structure and the National Immunization Plus Days (NIPDs) to integrate COVID-19 vaccination in the state,” he said.
Osun state located in the south-west region and shares state boundaries with five states – Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti and Kwara – along 14 (Odo Otin, Ila and Ifedayo, Obokun, Oriade, Ife South, Olorunda, Ejigbo, Iwo, Ayedire, Isokan, Irewole, Ayedaade, and IFe North) of its 30 Local Government Areas (LGAs).
Dr Bello added that Osun state supported by partners have been conducting border synchronization meetings with bordering states at the LGA/ward/settlement level for better planning and quality vaccination.
COVID-19 vaccination has been globally accepted as a critical public health response measure to prevent severe COVID-19 disease and deaths. Nigeria, since March 2021 rolled out the mass vaccination exercise using three vaccines (AstraZeneca, Moderna and the Janssen' Johnson and Johnson). However, the vaccination uptake in the country remains low.
As of 29 November 2021, 6 644 441 (5.9% of 111,760,503) people have received at least the first dose, and 3,645,757 receiving two doses (3.3%)
In Osun state, 105 417 (5.2%) of the targeted 2 million people (34% of the total population) have been fully vaccinated and 257,408 (12.4%) people have received their first jab as of 29 November 2021. Osun state has an estimated total population of 5,764,868 and about 50% of this being in the 18 years and above age bracket, this implies that 88% of the target is not yet covered.
Speaking at the flag-off of the campaign at Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo on 19 November 2021, the Governor of the State, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr Benedict Alabi, said the mass campaign is also part of the strategies to stave off the re-emergence of the COVID-19 infection and achieve herd immunity in the state…
Mr Alabi said the state has more ground to cover to reach more than the targeted population (2 million) by January 31, 2022.
“I am happy to announce that about two Million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been allocated to the State and all eligible persons that are yet to be vaccinated now have access to the vaccines.
“We have established fixed posts at our primary, secondary and tertiary health facilities, outreach posts in places outside the health facilities and special locations like Churches, Mosques, Markets and Malls will be used. I urge indigenes and residents of the state to take maximum advantage of the opportunity to get vaccinated as the vaccines have been tested and found to be trusted, safe and efficacious in protecting the people.
Appreciating WHO and partners for the support given to the state in combating the virus and other health interventions, he said ” I want to appreciate WHO, UNICEF, and other partners for the support since the rolling out of the COVID-19 vaccine in Osun State.
“Furthermore, I want to implore community leaders, stakeholders, women and religious leaders to assist in mobilizing all eligible persons to avail themselves of this golden opportunity of receiving the Covid-19 vaccination. It is one way we can all be protected against the virus. We should also continue observing the non-pharmaceutical measures such as wearing face masks, washing of hands, and maintaining social distance” he said.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) – Nigeria.