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The Federal Government announced on Tuesday that a total of 18,291,072 Nigerians have been completely vaccinated against COVID-19, symbolizing 16.4 percent of the nation’s eligible population.

The government reported that 30,327,550 people (23.9 percent of the population) were vaccinated with the first dose, 14,629,451 persons had been vaccinated with the second dose, and 1,229,909 persons had been immunized with boosters.

At the start of COVID-19 vaccination at neighborhood pharmacies in Abuja, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, Deputy Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, made these revelations.

“As of today, May 31st, 2022, we have vaccinated 30,327,550 individuals with the first shot (23.9% of our target population) while 14,629,451 people have received their second shot and 18,291,072 persons have been completely immunized (or 16.4% of our eligible population). Also, 1,229,909 individuals have gotten booster jabs.

The start of cooperation between the government and the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (APCN) in extending COVID-19 immunization to the grassroots level was marked by the flag-off ceremony.

Dr. Shuaib noted that the relationship became necessary owing to “the fact that community pharmacies are the most frequently consulted and readily accessible locations for public sector health care service delivery, particularly in underserved areas, owing to their relationship with the communities.”

He expressed his gratitude to the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria and the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria for their tireless efforts in helping to make the partnership a reality.

Indeed, this cooperation is a positive step in the direction of our goal to provide more people with access to COVID-19 vaccination and other immunization services throughout the nation.

“This is an innovative and ground-breaking approach that we have taken as a nation to improve our health security architecture,” he added.

“As you are aware, Nigeria has launched the S.C.A.L.E.S 2.0 as one of the country’s national COVID-19 vaccine rollout strategies through the Presidential steering committee, the Federal Ministry of Health, and National Primary Health Care Development Agency,” he said further.

“In the spirit of inclusivity and in recognition of the fact that effectively combating COVID-19 transmission through vaccination necessitates the participation of all actors in the health ecosystem, the S.C.A.L.E.S approach involves extending vaccination sites beyond public health facilities to include private health centers and community pharmacies in accordance with international standards.

“We are pleased to be here today to inaugurate this wonderful collaboration between the NPHCDA and the Association of community pharmacists of Nigeria which is part of this admirable effort.”

“In many countries, community pharmacies’ involvement in specialized care and administration of antiretroviral medicines for HIV care improved retention on therapy, commitment to medicine, and overall better therapy outcomes,” says Dr. Shuaib.

“To bring it to a closer perspective, community pharmacists have aided during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring that people had access to hand sanitizers, personal protective equipment (PPEs), and so on.

“I wish to reaffirm that this synergy will once again improve our COVID-19 vaccination program, allowing the nation to reach herd immunity while also donating to health safety and enhancing the health care system,” he continued.

“Vaccination is increasingly being offered in community pharmacies in many countries around the world, including COVID-19 vaccination,” he stated.

“To name a few, places like the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and South Africa, pharmacies are serving an important role in COVID-19 immunization administration.”

“With over six thousand neighborhood pharmacies in the nation, combined with extended operating hours and simplicity of access, I expect this to result in rapidly increasing vaccination coverage,” he concluded.

The NPHCDA president was delighted with the initiative, stating that it would “add excitement to the country’s effort to achieve 70% vaccination required for herd immunity.”

This cooperation is a feasible option if we must achieve our national objectives as soon as possible.

“I’d want to thank the Associations’ leadership, in particular the president and chairman, but also urge them to see this chance as one of their numerous assistance towards Nigeria’s national health security and the good individuals of the nation.”

“It’s a dedication to humanity, and it will be remembered as ACPN’s role in stamping out the COVID-19 epidemic in our nation,” he added.

In his remarks at the celebration, National Chairman of ACPN Pharm. Adewale Aderemi Oladigbolu said that the partnership was “a never-seen-before in public-private partnerships to achieve universal health reach.”

“An example of how this public health project is certain to boost vaccination access is this; since community pharmacists are readily accessible, provide extended hours of service, are well-respected health care professionals, and as a result, their participation in immunization procedures will reduce vaccine refusals and substantially increase coverage. “

He praised Dr. Faisal Shuaib for putting “the need of the people” before everything else and for working tirelessly to see the eradication of COVID-19.

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