As part of its health emergency response against coronavirus, the Kwara State Government has set up a Technical Working Group (TWG) to locally replicate and implement adopted national response to COVID-19 vaccine introduction and vaccinations across the country.
As gathered, the technical working group would serve as an advisory body to the state in line with the government’s strategies to sensitise Kwara residents ahead of COVID-19 vaccine introduction and administration.
The TWG, which is chaired by the Executive Secretary of the Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Nusirat Elelu, has members drawn from relevant MDAs, community based organisations, traditional institutions and faith-based organisations.
Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the TWG in Ilorin recently, Dr. Elelu who explained that the vaccine brings a sense of hope to Nigerians whose lives have been affected by the pandemic, urged various stakeholders to help to sensitise the public on the need to embrace it.
Elelu said that the TWG was set up to map out strategies for the introduction of the vaccine in the state based on templates already established by the Federal Government.
She said the vaccine would help to arrest the havocs of the virus whose spread has crippled economies globally and in Nigeria particularly.
Dr Elelu therefore urged all stakeholders to help sensitise the public and stand up against myths and rumours in order to tackle the challenges posed by the deadly respiratory disease.
The Director, Primary Health Care System, Dr Michael Oguntoye, said that the havoc wreaked by the pandemic was enormous and strategies designed to combat it should be embraced by all.
On his part, the Emir of Shonga, Dr. Haliru Yahaya, stressed the need for stakeholders to improve public acceptance of the vaccine and erase whatever doubts from the society.
He said that the TWG would plan and develop strategies and modalities for the acceptance of the first tranche of the COVID 19 vaccine in the state.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communication, Rabiat AbdulRahaman, urged the agency to promptly work within the Risk Communication framework to sensitise and create public enlightenment to propagate the COVID 19 vaccine introduction.
AbdulRahaman further said that the Ministry would ratchet up various enlightenment programmes to deepen public acceptance of the vaccine ahead of its introduction.
Dr Elelu, meanwhile, said that there was no conclusion yet on the type of cold chain equipment the state would require for the storage of the vaccine.
“The country initially planned to procure 100,000 doses of Pfizer covid 19 vaccines which would require -70°C cold chain storage. However, recent development indicates that the country has planned to procure 16Million doses of Covid 19 vaccines from Astra Zeneca with a temperature requirement of between +2 to +8°C. This is the same temperature requirement as our existing vaccine for routine immunisation. In summary, the vaccine that will be procured by the country and made available in Kwara will determine what type of cold chain equipment the state will invest in.”