#YesToCovidVaccine: Jigawa sees an impressive turnout as vaccination efforts advance in Nigeria – Nigeria

Jigawa, March 29, 2021 – On a recent weekday, community health worker Hajiya Balkisu Yahaya bared her arm and felt the pinprick as she received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from a colleague. In return, Hajiya Balkisu also vaccinated her colleague. The two are health workers deployed as vaccination teams to immunize against COVID-19 disease in the Nigerian state of Jigawa and are among the first to receive the sting.

“I took the first dose and I’m very, very happy now,” said Hajiya Balkisu, who works at the Sakwaya Primary Healthcare Center in Dutse, the capital. “It’s good so that I can protect myself first before I protect others.”

Just two weeks after the Covid-19 vaccines arrived in Nigeria, Jigawa State is seeing impressive results as authorities accelerate efforts to distribute the doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, millions of which are available across Nigeria. The vaccines were shipped to the country from the Serum Institute of India (SII) in early March.

Jigawa has the second highest turnout for the vaccine after Lagos state. Authorities received 68,520 doses of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine here and 33,508 people had been vaccinated by March 29. The state has recorded 518 of the 162,593 COVID-19 cases in Nigeria at the same time.

Hajiya Balkisu says the result means some vaccination success, although some residents are reluctant to use Covid-19 vaccines.

Since the pandemic started last year, unsubstantiated theories about how COVID-19 was created, as well as rumors about the safety of the vaccine, have spread widely online and on social media in Nigeria. Some of them spread claims about vaccines causing infertility in women, while others claimed that vaccines are only given to the country’s political elite.

But in working with local communities, the state has overcome much of the fear, state officials note. According to Hassan Shaibu Kwallam, the state vaccination commissioner, it was mainly due to the influence of traditional and religious leaders that Jigawa’s residents were able to appear.

“Our strategy was very simple. We have the buy-in of the local health workers and we also have the collaboration of the traditional leaders. That made the vaccination process smooth. “

When it was time for His Royal Highness the Emir of Hadejia to get his first push on a Monday, he did so publicly and chose to have the vaccine at the Hadejia General Hospital in the Hadejia Local Government Area (LGA) to take where many in his community could see. After receiving the injection, the emir held up his green vaccination card with a QR code stamped on it as evidence.

“I hope to dispel the rumors that another vaccine, safer and more effective, will only be given to very important people,” said the emir. “If we come out this way, it will build the trust and confidence of many who harbor this misunderstanding and lead to higher participation in vaccine adoption. I am sure.”

Partnerships work
It’s not the first time Jigawa has successfully immunized thousands despite some hesitation, health officials say. When polio disease was endemic in Nigeria and parents were reluctant to be vaccinated, health workers also reached out to traditional and religious leaders for legal assistance. This culminated in the great success seen in 2020 when Nigeria was declared polio-free after years of fighting the disease.

Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Sani, emir of Gumel, who received his vaccine last Wednesday, says partnerships between local executives and health workers increase the chances of vaccination success.

“I am mainly presenting myself for the COVID-19 vaccination so that everyone can do the same,” said the emir. “What we have successfully done as an emirate during the Polio Eradication Initiative is a clear testimony to our continued ability to convince our communities to support all government-brought forward public health interventions.”

Only health workers like Hajiya Balkisu and traditional leaders were selected for the first phase of the roll-out to protect the health workers and build trust between communities. Now the second phase (which is aimed at adults aged 50 and over) and then the third phase (for adults between 18 and 49 years of age) should have started. Those who successfully receive their first puffs are expected to take their second dose after 12 weeks.

Nigeria received 3.9 million vaccines in March from an expected 84 million doses via the COVAX facility jointly managed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund has been. the World Bank and other partners. COVAX is a pillar of the Accelerator Access to COVID-19 Tool (ACT), a global collaboration to accelerate production and fair access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.

Another 41.3 million vaccine doses by the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Team (AVATT) and the African Union are expected in April.

Don’t be afraid
Back in Jigawa, Hajiya Balkisu said she had to convince many that the mild fever some feel after taking the vaccine is normal – she felt it too and it went away in a day, she added.

Dr. Sunday Audu, WHO Jigawa State Coordinator, repeated her message. “There is no need to hesitate,” he urged. “There are no reports of Serious Post-Immunization Adverse Events (AEFI) in the state. It’s just a minor inconvenience, but it would be beneficial for more people to receive their doses so we can protect ourselves and our neighbors. “

WHO supported the training of the 162 vaccination teams deployed in Jigawa’s 27 LGAs, including Hajiya Balkisu’s team. Dr. Audu pledged that WHO technical officers will continue to assist in coordinating, training, supervising and monitoring health care workers until all doses are used.

“I will advise my colleagues and everyone else to calm down,” added Hajiya Balkisu as she looked after people who were waiting to be vaccinated. “Don’t think too much about the inconvenience of the shock. Relax and you’ll be fine. It’s much less painful than contracting Covid-19 and getting sick. “

Technical contacts:

Dr. Audu Sunday; Email: [email protected]; Tel .: +234 8035664472

Dr. Jean Baptiste, Anne Eudes. Email: [email protected]; Phone: +234 8131736281

For additional information or to request interviews, please contact:
Mrs. Charity Warigon
Tel .: +234 810 221 0093
Email: [email protected]

Comments are closed.