FG Urged to Target Vulnerable Poor With COVID-19 Vaccine

FG Urged to Target Vulnerable Poor With COVID-19 Vaccine

The Federal Government (FG) of Nigeria have been urged to target the vulnerable poor with Covid-19 vaccine.

Elderly people in villages across the country called on the federal government to give them special consideration in accessing the COVID-19 vaccine because of their vulnerability.

Some of them said besides being very old, they had underlying illnesses like diabetes and hypertension and were therefore susceptible to complications.

FG Urged to Target Vulnerable Poor With COVID-19 Vaccine
FG Urged to Target Vulnerable Poor With COVID-19 Vaccine

Medical professionals have also voiced support for special consideration for the elderly, saying scores of old people died in the villages due to COVID-19 complications.

The people interviewed by Daily Trust said they could not register for the vaccination online as directed by relevant authorities, heightening fears that it would take long for them to be considered.

Muhtari Baba, 77, a farmer in Toro, Bauchi State, said he heard about the COVID-19 vaccination on radio. Baba said, “We have not been told how we would access the vaccine; and I want to get it. I thank God I don’t have any underlying ailment, but I know that COVID-19 is real.

“They said people should register using their phones…I don’t have that kind of phone. I pray government will make special provision for us.”

David John, 81, a retired soldier in Jos, said there was need for special consideration for the elderly living in villages.

John said, “This COVID-19 killed many of our contemporaries in the last one year because they didn’t have access to health facilities.

“I lost many of my friends and I believe it was as a result of COVID-19 complications. We thank God Nigeria has started receiving the consignment, but I think the timetable for administering it does not favour the rural poor.”

In Gombe State, Malam Musa Abdu Bamai, 65, of Unguwar Balu area in Dukku LGA, said, “I am a subsistence farmer with two wives and 15 children and residing in a rural area where healthcare services and other social amenities are very poor. As such, the government should first consider us alongside the health workers,” he said.

On his part, a resident of Biri village, Malam Umar Shehu, 62, called for fairness in the distribution of the vaccines.

“As a blacksmith and living in a village, I am still struggling to take care of my family, therefore getting the vaccine will help me get immunity from the virus and continue taking care of my family,” he said.

With an estimated population of about 18 million aged persons in the country, experts say Nigeria’s ageing population increased from 4.5 per cent in 1991 to about 10 per cent in 2018, noting that it was important for older persons to access quality healthcare and social services.

But the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, said the vaccination process would commence with frontline health workers, their supporting staff and then strategic leaders during the phase one.

Dr Faisal explained that, “The phase two vaccination process involves vaccination of the elderly, from 50 years and above. This has been sub grouped into two, with the vaccination of 60-year-olds and above occurring first, followed by 50 to 59-year-olds. This will occur across all the 36 states and the FCT.

“The phase three vaccination process involves vaccination of those between 18 and 49 years with co-morbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, lung disease, other heart diseases and liver or renal disease. Individuals at ages 50 and above with co-morbidities would already have been immunised within their age group.

“The phase four vaccination process would involve vaccination of the rest of the eligible population between ages 18 and 49. It is worthy to note that at each phase of the vaccination, the level of preparedness of the states would be assessed before vaccines are deployed, and accountability measures have been put in place to ensure strict compliance to the vaccination process.”

He further said eligible people for vaccination that had not registered electronically would be assisted at the designated health facilities and would be vaccinated.

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