The Taraba State government has taken delivery of its first batch of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for onward vaccination of its residents through the Primary Health Care Development Agency (PHCDA).
A total of 56,250 doses of the vaccines were sent to the state via the Yola International Airport in the north-eastern part of the country.
The Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Health, Dr Ebenezer Apake, received the vaccines on behalf of the state government on Thursday.
He noted that at least 80 per cent of the state’s population needed to be vaccinated in order to be protected against the pandemic.
“These vaccines, even though developed in record time, should be effective in reducing the severity of cases,” said Apake who urged residents to avail themselves for vaccination.
Despite receiving the vaccines, he said the state government would not in any way lower its guard on adherence to the safety protocols of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
The agency saddled with the responsibility of vaccination – PHCDA – said it has trained a total of 254 staff to carry out the exercise, as well as sensitised residents on what the vaccine was about.
Its Executive Secretary, Aminu Jauro, noted that they have intensified their efforts in curbing the spread of the disease across the 168 wards of the state.
He disabused the minds of residents on the insinuations that the vaccine was allergic, saying frontline health workers would receive the first jab in Taraba.
“To allay the fears of residents towards the uptake of the vaccines, we have carried out sensitisation workshops with all stakeholders – which is very key,” Jauro said.
In his remarks, the coordinator of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Taraba, Farouk Umar, said they would provide the needed technical support to the state health sector.
“We are part of the planning for the coming of the vaccines to administration for proper following of the right protocol,” he said.
The arrival of the Oxford Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccines in Jalingo is seen as a sign of hope in the midst of despair in view of the rising number of cases in the state.
Since the beginning of the outbreak in Nigeria, Taraba has recorded 881 infections, out of which 55 patients are on admission and 22 deaths.