Omicron: Bauchi State to Receive 350,000 Doses of COVID-19 Booster Vaccines

Daily Chronicle

The Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (BSPHCDA), says it will soon take delivery of 350,000 COVID-19 booster doses from the Federal Government, to further stem spread of the pandemic.

It could be recalled that concern over the Omicron coronavirus variant has led some countries, Nigeria inclusive, to expand their booster programmes.

Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, Executive Secretary of the Agency, stated this on Thursday at the 3rd Annual Research Day and Scientific Conference of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBU-TH) Bauchi.

The theme of this year’s conference is, “Addressing COVID-19 Vaccine hesitancy in developing countries: Latest evidence and future direction.”

Mohammed said the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency would soon supply the booster doses to the state.

He said that booster shots would only be administered to those who had taken their first and second jab of COVID-19 vaccines, to further protect them against the Omicron variant.

“Even if you are vaccinated, you can get infected with the mutant Omicron variant of COVID-19, however, the good thing is that people that were vaccinated will not get the severe form of the Omicron variant.

“If you have not taken the vaccines, there is a rule now, there is going to be a booster dose and it would only be given to those that have taken the first and second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

“To prevent Omicron variant, the only way is to do the booster dose and the federal government will send about 350,000 booster doses next week to Bauchi State,” he said.

Mohammed described COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy as a major problem because even the most educated people including healthcare workers were yet to take the vaccine.

This, he said, might not be unconnected with the myths and misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Addressing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy has never been more important than now because of the emergence of Delta and more recently OMICRON variants.

“If we allow the virus to continue to mutate, it may render all the available vaccines ineffective, therefore, it take us back to square one,” he said.

In his remarks, Prof. Mustapha Jamda of Community Medicine and Public Health Department, University of Abuja, said that the data on COVID-19 vaccine administration in Nigeria compared to Africa and the global community indicated how poorly Nigeria had performed as a country.

Jamda, who is also the Chairman, University of Abuja COVID-19 Response Committee was represented by Dr. Abubakar Difa, Associate Professor, Community Medicine and Public Health, Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe State.

He said that the country’s performance in COVID-19 vaccine administration indicated that there was high level hesitancy and rejection of the vaccine.

“The fact that over a million doses of COVID-19 vaccines expired with less than ten per cent of the population vaccinated has confirmed the assertion that there is truly hesitancy in vaccination in this country,” he said.

He, however, said that the conference would serve as an avenue to make progress towards understanding the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in Africa.

According to him, one of the priority of the conference is to understand the factors driving COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and rejection in the country.

Also speaking, Dr Haruna Liman, Consultant Urologist and Deputy Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee of the ATBU-TH, commended the management for transforming the hospital and improving the staff welfare.

He said that hosting of the annual research day at the hospital, indicated the readiness of the management in recognising the importance of research as one of its three core mandate.

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