FG Sets 2022 deadline To End COVID-19 Pandemic

Boss Mustapha.

The Federal Government has set 2022 as the target year to put an end to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.

To achieve this, the government has announced plans to convene a national summit next month to review targets set on the pandemic.

It also lamented the continued increase in the COVID-19 case fatality ratio, blaming it on vaccine hesitancy, late presentation of cases and other factors.

Nigeria has lost nearly 3,000 people to the pandemic, but the government said but for poor record keeping, especially in rural areas, the figure was definitely higher.

Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 PSC and Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this during yesterday’s briefing of the committee, said:  “The PSC is approaching the end of its nine months mandate by the end of December 2021.

‘’To effectively capture the core elements of our national response, a national summit to end COVID-19 in 2022 and to strengthen global health security is being planned to hold in Abuja from December 6-8, 2021.

‘’It is imperative that all hands must be on deck, if we must lay a solid foundation for: a sustainable response to COVID which will be with us for quite some time; and continue to push to minimize the impact on health and economic sectors.

Case Fatality Ratio

“We are currently seeing some surges in cases in some countries in Europe (especially eastern Europe) due to under vaccination. In other territories where massive vaccinations have occurred, the infections are rising.

‘’What we see in Nigeria right now is that there is an increase in case fatality ratio, which calls for great concern.

“In our last briefing, we announced the Vaccine Mandate for December 1, 2021. I will like to state that this is in the best interest of Nigeria, looking at what is happening globally. We are gearing up to further engage with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to push through the mass vaccination programme and mandate for our citizens.

“We have received intelligence and even detected that some unscrupulous citizens are procuring vaccination cards through the black market. Let me assure everyone that the vaccination records/certificates will be verified and this should serve as a warning to those criminally-minded persons to desist because they will be prosecuted accordingly.’’

He said the vaccination phase was being accelerated, adding that the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, had concluded arrangements to roll-out a mass vaccination plan this week.

“The PSC wishes to assure Nigerians that the NPHCDA has enough vaccines in the pipeline to vaccinate about 50% of the target population by the end of January, 2022. Efforts are also on-going to bring on board the booster dose to build a health level of anti-bodies,” the SGF added.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said Nigeria had so far tested a total of 3,392,457 samples, of which 213,147 were confirmed positive for COVID-19, while active cases were 4,447 and cases discharged to date 205,732.

“There have sadly been 2,968 COVID-related fatalities, with a case fatality rate of 1.39%,” he stated.

He added that majority of patients (67%) on admission in isolation wards had co-morbidities  such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and other non-communicable diseases which were known determinants of the severity of COVID-19 illness.

“There are, therefore, still surprises coming up with the novel coronavirus, as it evolves. Nigeria is preparing along all established avenues, including participating in research and development.

‘’Several Nigerian groups are engaged in genomic sequencing and a few in vaccine development, while NIPRID is working on phytomedicines research.

“Nigeria’s vaccine manufacturing aspirations are on track. We are working with the private sector and have the full support of influential Nigerians outside the country,” Ehanire added.

Also speaking, Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, disclosed that Nigeria had lost nearly three thousand people.

“Thankfully, majority of these cases, 205,000 were not sick or made a full recovery. Unfortunately, we have lost 2,960 Nigerians – parents, siblings, close relatives, colleagues, neighbours to this disease,” he stated.

Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, decried the low number of people who have been fully vaccinated.

He said:  “As of this morning, Monday November 15th, 2021, a total of 5,891,305 eligible persons have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

‘’This represents only 5.3 per cent of the overall eligible population while 3,252,067 have received their second dose and are fully vaccinated, thereby representing only 2.9 per cent of the overall population of eligible persons.

‘’As we are all aware, the overall population of eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination to enable the country reach herd immunity against the disease is 111,776,503.

“Looking at the aforementioned figures, it is extremely risky to go into the end of year festivities which will involve a lot of travels, crowded gatherings and reunions without adequate measures to ensure that people are protected against COVID-19.

“Our best guarantee against COVID-19 for now is vaccination, and that is why Government is committed to mass vaccination campaigns.”