By Donald Ojebo
Delta State has received a total of 85,700 doses of covid-19 vaccines which marks the beginning of the State’s state-wide covid-19 vaccination exercise.
The Delta State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mordi Ononye made this known yesterday at the Asaba International Airport when he received on behalf of the State Government the first consignment of the Covid-19 vaccines allocated to the State.
According to the Commissioner, “the Board Chairman, State Primary Health Care Development Agency and her Team have been planning tirelessly to see that the State had an effective and efficient state-wide vaccination for the Covid-19 and the delivery of these vaccines today marks the take-off of the exercise.”
Dr. Ononye stated that this first tranche will be administered to health workers especially those in treatment centers and other health workers and thereafter other categories of persons will follow.
On the administration of the vaccines, “we will commence vaccination on Friday, March 12 at the Asaba Specialist Hospital by 10am that is where we will flag-off and on same day the His Excellency, the Governor will be vaccinated about 1pm at the Government House. From the schedule we have on ground, other persons who by reason of their work are important in the fight against the virus will also receive the vaccines”.
The Commissioner also stated that Members of the State Executive Council, Military personnel, and the Police will also be vaccinated.
Explaining the perceived apathy by member of the general public on the vaccines, Dr. Ononye stated “vaccines have been in use since ages past, these vaccines are safe, they are effective, there is no spiritual particles attached to them hence people should come out and be vaccinated. The vaccines are meant to promote the health of individuals: boost their immune system and abilities to withstand the disease. People should not be afraid, they should come out and take the vaccines when it gets to their turn.
Describing the effectiveness of the vaccines and percentage of the population to be covered, he said “it is very effective. The ones we just received – Astra Zeneca gives you up to 98% protection. It is our intention to cover every Deltan but with the receipt of this first tranche of 85,700 it is obvious this is just a small fraction compared to the population of Delta State. However, in the coming future, we will be receiving more consignments and we will be able to cover more of the population. It is an ongoing exercise as we get more vaccines, we will be administering the vaccines and obviously throughout the year we will be vaccinating”.
On the side effects of the vaccines, he explained thus “during vaccination substances are introduced into the body and for majority of persons there are no side effects but even those who develop side effects, they are very mild and should it be more than mild, there are methods put in place to handle such cases as all these had been embedded into the Agency’s plans”.
On the immunity boost on individuals who would take the vaccines, the Commissioner said that the vaccines confers on the individual greater immunity but this does not mean that the vaccinated person cannot contract the disease and if the person does it will be very mild and the person may even be asymptomatic.
Whether or not one takes the vaccines, it is expected that the Covid-19 safety protocols are still adhered to such as the wearing of face masks, observing social distance, washing of hands among other safety protocols”.
Speaking Dr. (Mrs.) Isoma Okobah, Board Chairman, Delta State Primary Health Care Development Agency said that the vaccines have been moved from the airport and would be stored in the State Cold Chain facility where it would be further transported to the various Council Areas.
According to her, “this vaccination is what we have been doing all the time and we have made sure we safely take these vaccines to the different Council Areas. We have designated one General Hospital per Local Government Area but all the General Hospitals across the State will be ‘fixed posts’ for vaccination for all the health care workers. We are also going to have temporary posts which will be taken to the front line workers who are none-medical such as the Police, the Military, Correctional Centers, Navy and other organizations that are stake holders.