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COVID-19: How FCTA failed to meet vaccination target

..   Administration blames misconceptions

Abuja, the nation’s capital, may have failed to meet its COVID-19 vaccinations target, as the Federal Capital Territory Administration failed to capture 419,157 eligible persons as at the end of 2022.

Official figures released by the FCT Primary Healthcare Board suggests that the administration was only able to vaccinate 1,671,738 persons out of the 2,162,895 persons it had projected to vaccinate by the end of 2022.

The Acting Executive Secretary, FCT Primary Healthcare Board, Dr. Isah Vatsa, recently disclosed that the administration had planned for a population of 3,089,849 eligible persons, out of which it hoped to capture 70percent (2, 162, 895) eligible persons for the COVID-19 vaccination.

Vatsa, who attributed the short fall mostly due to wrong perceptions and misconceptions about the vaccine, disclosed that a total of 990, 445 eligible persons (18yrs and above) received at least one shot of the vaccine, while 792, 437 have been fully vaccinated and 204, 839 received the booster shot by  December 20, 2022.

The FCT Administration officially kicked off the COVID-19 vaccination on March 15, 2021, after securing 227,480 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

The FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, who flagged off the exercise, described it as the single largest vaccination programme ever in the FCT.

She added that in readiness for the COVID-19 vaccination, the FCT, through the FCT Primary Healthcare Board and partners, completed a Cold Chain Preparedness assessment and trained all members of the 65 vaccination teams.

She said the FCT can safely store, deliver and administer the vaccines required to immunise all residents in this first phase of COVID-19 vaccination

However, speaking recently on the state of preparedness and response of the FCTA health sector, Vatsa said though the COVID-19 protocols have been relaxed, the FCT will sustain vaccination and other measures against the pandemic.

He said, “our target is to vaccinate at least 70percent (2, 162, 895) of these eligible persons by end of December 2022”.

According to him, a total number of 246 Vaccination Teams (90 fixed post teams & 156 Mobile/Outreach Teams) supported by state and partners are currently deployed in the FCT and are disaggregated across the 6 Area Councils.

“Partners like UNICEF, WHO, USAID, IHVN, Pathfinder International, Breakthrough Action of Nigeria, Vaccine Network etc have been very supportive to the FCT for the purposes of the COVID-19 Vaccination.

“The COVID-19 Vaccination roll-out started on March 5th, 2021 with a National flag off at the National Hospital Abuja, and since then the COVID-19 Vaccination has been happening across the country with varying degree of success”.

Also, Director, Public Health Department, Dr. Sadiq Abdulrahaman, who highlighted measures and responses to the health issues in the FCT from January to December 2022, said zero Covid-19 cases within the period.

He attributed the successes recorded in curtailing Covid-19 and other epidemic diseases to proven political will of the government and support of critical stakeholders.

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