By Sunday Egede
Delta State Government (DTSG), on Wednesday evening, received its share of 85,700 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government.
The Allied Air E-Cargo aircraft marked 5N-RKT which brought the vaccine touched down at the Asaba International Airport at precisely 7.02pm where the pilot of the aircraft, Adebayo Emmanuel, subsequently handed over the way bill (documentation pertaining to the vaccine) to the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mordi Ononye when he (the pilot) alighted from the flight.
Speaking in an interview with journalists at the airport, Dr. Ononye said that the receipt of the vaccine was unique and symbolic as it would herald the commencement of a statewide vaccination exercise against COVID-19.
He disclosed that the state Ministry of Health had perfected arrangement for effective and efficient statewide vaccination, reiterating that the delivery of the vaccine to the state marks the take-off of the vaccination exercise.
The Commissioner added that the exercise would be flagged off on Friday, March 12, 2021 at the Asaba Specialist Hospital where the state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is expected to be vaccinated.
According to him, the vaccination exercise would be staggered beginning with health workers especially those at the treatment centres and other health workers.
Dr. Ononye noted that the vaccine was very effective in protecting people from contracting COVID-19, even as he urged residents of the state to come out and take the vaccine with a view to promoting their health and strengthening their immunity against COVID-19.
While urging the press to help in creating the desired awareness about the vaccine, he harped on the need for residents of the state to continue to observe the non-pharmaceutical protocols put in place by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“Today (Wednesday evening), we received 85,700 doses of COVID-19 vaccine and this marks the beginning of a statewide vaccination exercise. Arrangement has been perfected for effective and efficient statewide vaccination exercise against COVID-19.
“The delivery of this vaccine marks the take off of vaccination exercise. The vaccination is to be staggered. We are beginning with health workers especially those at the treatment centres and other health workers.
“Those are the first set of people that we will give (vaccinate). Thereafter, others will be vaccinated but first of all, the frontline workers and other health care workers will be vaccinated.
“The vaccination will be flagged off on Friday, March 12, 2021 at the Asaba Specialist Hospital where the governor is expected to be vaccinated.
“People should come out and take the vaccine to promote their health and strenghten their immunity against COVID-19. They should not afraid as there is no cause for alarm.
“The vaccine we have received is 85,700 doses. Of course, that is a small fraction but in the very near future, we will be receiving more consignments of the vaccine to be able to cover more of the population,” the Commissioner said.