Omicron: 13 states yet to administer COVID-19 booster shots

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No fewer than 13 states have yet to commence giving the booster jabs, 14 days after the federal government declared the commencement of the administration of booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

According to The PUNCH report, the list of the states was obtained from the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency.

Indeed, the World Health Organisation and other international bodies and vaccine development companies such as Pfizer and Moderna had recommended the administration of booster shots for people to gain more protection against the coronavirus disease.

Following the discovery of the Omicron variant, the calls for booster shots became more intense.

The Federal Government, through the Director-General of the NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, had on December 9, 2021 announced that the administration of the boosters would commence the following day.

Shuaib, who described the booster shots as an opportunity to get additional protection against COVID-19, had advised eligible Nigerians to get them.

He said, “Following the detection of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in Nigeria, the Federal Government reviewed the country’s vaccination programme and resolved to introduce the booster dose, using the Pfizer Bio-N-Tech vaccine across the country.

“This will take effect as from Friday, December 10, 2021. It is pertinent to reiterate the fact that the Nigerian COVID-19 vaccination programme is science-driven.

“Evidence has shown that the booster dose further increases protection against the virus. Eligibility for the booster dose includes being 18 years and above and being fully vaccinated with either two doses of AstraZeneca, Moderna or Pfizer Bio-N-Tech or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”

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But the NPHCDA revealed that weeks after the commencement of giving the booster shot, 13 states had not yet begun the administration.

While states like Akwa Ibom, Jigawa and Taraba were said to have commenced the administration, it was gathered that less than five persons had taken the shots.

The 13 states with no record of booster shot administration are Abia, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Rivers, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara.

Attempts to reach Shuaib on why the states had not commenced the administration of the booster shots proved abortive as calls and messages forwarded to his line remained unanswered as of the time of this report.

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