Covid-19: Lagos State considers other sources for mass vaccinations
The Lagos State government said it is looking into additional options for obtaining COVID-19 vaccines in order to create herd immunity for the state’s population against the pandemic.
Prof. Akin Abayomi, the state’s Commissioner for Health, stated this in an interview with media on Sunday in Abuja.
Abayomi said, “While the first national target of vaccination is 60 per cent, we in Lagos are looking for vaccines to create full coverage that will be safe.
“And even for children, as well as other immune compromised individuals that do not fall into the normal criteria, as the pace at which we are going is extremely slow.
“We’re looking for avenues and activities to speed this up; donor partners, private sector, through advocacy because it appears that this virus is not going anytime soon.”
He said that the state administration had only been able to vaccinate only 1% of the population so far, despite a target of 60%.
“If you vaccinate only 60 per cent of your population, the remaining 40 per cent remains vulnerable, and the virus can circulate within that 40 per cent and create new strains, which can then affect those that have been vaccinated.
“Countries are now talking about booster shots, whereas in Lagos, we haven’t been able to deliver more than one per cent of the population. we know that the vaccine campaign is critical, and to mitigate subsequent waves,” said the commissioner.
According to him, the Lagos state government does not want to slow down the economy of the state, “We want to create a situation where the economy is relatively opened so that people can move around and commercial activities go on.
“And it seems as if the way to go, apart from the standard Non-pharmaceutical interventions, is to have a very robust vaccination strategy.”
In addition, the health commissioner stated that Lagos is dedicated to meeting the 60% target as quickly as possible.
“Under the guidance and regulation of the federal government regulatory agencies. And by whichever ways we can do that, we hope that we can speed things up.
“We’ve missed several opportunities in between the waves. Our third wave appears to be going down now, so we’re looking for this window of opportunity again to ramp up our vaccination strategy such that we use vaccination as mitigation of subsequent waves.
“This is the new frontier, knowing what this virus is doing, and you need to know how this virus is changing. If you want to be ahead of the game,” he said.
According to Abayomi, it’s no longer only about PCR testing for positivity, but also about trying to understand the virus’s mutations as it spreads from person to person.
“We know that we can’t easily ramp up because of human resource deficits, infrastructure deficits, financial deficits.
“And so it’s important that we understand what the next challenges will be with respect to how this virus is changing itself,” he stressed.
According to the commissioner, the government purchased sequencing technology because it recognised that Lagos state, as Nigeria’s busiest port of entry, would constantly be busy.
The infection spread to other parts of the country, he said, starting in Lagos state.
“We are not only interested in the importation of variants, we’re also interested in the mutations that are happening in our community because we too can export variants to other states.
“We’re already looking at the fourth wave, because we’ve studied the first three waves. We’ve understood very clearly what triggers the waves and we know what they are.
“We know that within reason, we can expect a fourth wave, based on the characteristics of first, second and third,” said Abayomi.