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January 27, 2023

Ebonyi flags off covid – 19 scale 3-0 vaccination

Read Time:4 Minute, 50 Second

…decry low uptake of the vaccine in southeast

Ruth Oginyi

The government of Ebonyi State southeast Nigeria Tuesday flagged off the Covid-19 scale 3-0 program in the state.

The launching took place at Ebiaiji headquarters of Ezza north local government area.

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At the event, Mrs. Rachel Umahi represented by the SA to the governor on the welfare office of the wife of the governor Mrs. Patient Okorie noted that a healthy family will give a healthy society and that Ebonyi is still taking a giant step to get rid of the virus, therefore urged traditional rulers to collaborate with other stakeholders to ensure people are vaccinated and improve the health status of the state.

Addressing the masses who attend the flag-off, Dr. Daniel Umezuruike health commissioner in the state decried the low uptake of the vaccine in the zone.

He urged the people to disregard fake rumors and make themselves available for the vaccination.

Umazurike said, “the low uptake of Covid 19 vaccine is mainly because of vaccine resistance.
“If you ask me the reason I will say no one is vaccine resistance, no two vaccine resistance, number three vaccine resistance.
“And it is due to fake rumor and poor sensitization, the information given to people.
“They attribute covid19 vaccine to all manner of the problem but it has been tested and it’s safe and effective and free of charge and readily available so I urge our people to go ahead and take the vaccine”.

Dr Vivian Chinelo Ibeziako
State Coordinator Ebonyi State/ National Professional Officer Tuberculosis, South East Zone World Health organization in her message said despite WHO contribution and implementing partners Ebonyi state has been persistently poor performing among the 36 states of the federation

“WHO in an effective collaboration with UNICEF, IHP, BA-N, etc has tirelessly supported the state from the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the control of the outbreak. WHO has played a very vital role in COVID-19 case investigation, contact line listing, tracing and follow-up, RCCE, case management, laboratory, and now as part of a response to the pandemic, COVID-19 vaccination.

“Since the introduction of COVID-19 vaccination, we have played a vital role in coordination, capacity building, supervision, provision of logistics fund and payment of vaccination team and lots more.

“Unfortunately, Ebonyi state has been persistently poor performing among the 36 states of the federation of which the possible causes are lack of accountability framework, the poor commitment by some of the LGA and vaccination team members, lack of motivation due to inadequate stipends, hesitancy among HWs and community members, poor data upload to EMID platform, etc. However, it’s important to note that recently, WHO with the state team utilized the available funds for scale 2.0 to re-strategize the vaccination system to conduct a mini-campaign/intensification leading to an increase in coverage from 4.1 to 5.3.

It is indeed important to take note of some lessons learnt from the last activity conducted as we kick off with the COVID-19 scale 3.0 vaccination.

On his part, the State Coordinator national primary health development agency Mr. Julius Nwafor, explained that the first and second phase of the vaccination was successful and enjoined Ezza people, and the entire Ebonyi state to come out and get the vaccination as it is safe.

“Take the first, second dose, and the boost you are covered . Whether you have underlying diseases like diabetes you are safe to take the vaccination”. Nwafor said.

He said NPHCDA is operating in each of the wards and have a medical team that moves around to get people under 18 and above to get vaccinated.

In her goodwill message, IFEOMA CHRIS-OKAFOR from one of the implementing partners, BreakThroughAction- Nigeria urged everyone to be committed at all levels to ensure that Ebonyi maximizes the opportunity to accelerate the uptake of COVID – 19 vaccination and other PHC interventions in the State.

“With the COVID – 19 pandemic, BA-Nigeria increased its support to include Risk Communication and Community Engagement to prevent and control the
spread of COVID – 19 and other zoonotic diseases. The objectives of RCCE are to prevent the spread of COVID – 19 in the community and increase
testing and vaccination so that there would be a high population immunity to minimize the pandemic.
“Since the introduction of COVID-19 vaccination in the country in March 2021, Ebonyi State is one of the States in the country with poor COVID – 19 vaccinations of less than 10% coverage.
One of the causes of low vaccination coverage is hesitancies due to misconceptions and poor perceptions around COVID – 19 vaccines. At the bottom of it is poor social mobilization at the onset of COVID – 19 vaccines introduction resulting in poor IPCC skills of health care workers to effectively communicate with the community about the vaccines. This challenge of poor social mobilization is one of the areas that the State requested for support among other things.

“Consequently, BA-Nigeria would continue to provide support to the State in service communication through intensive demand generation activities, social behavior change communication, and targeted advocacies among other things.

“As a strategy to address hesitancies among healthcare workers, BA-Nigeria has commenced the training of healthcare workers drawn from high-volume tertiary and secondary health facilities in the State. The training is designed to build their capacity for Interpersonal communication and counseling and empathy around COVID – 19 vaccines.
The training would be cascaded to primary healthcare facilities, and we believe that the healthcare workers’ skills in communicating about COVID -19 would improve resulting in improved vaccine uptake in the State”.
Eze Igboke Ewa in his remarks said the government should provide the vaccine as they will ensure that people are mobilized for the vaccination.

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