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COVID-19: FG launches S. C. A. L. E. S 2.0, a faster approach to vaccine uptake



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The Federal government on Tuesday lamented that as much as a considerable number of Nigerians have taken their Covid-19 vaccine, there’s need to do more in order to hasten herd immunity.

It identified that the number of persons who have been fully vaccinated is still very low and this is partly because the country has been administering two dose vaccines.

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This birthed the launch of the acronym S.C.A.L.E.S 2.0 which stands for Service Delivery, Communication, Accountability, Logistics, Electronic Reporting and Supportive supervision for the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination with the use of the Johnson and Johnson single dose vaccine to achieve a faster result.

Recall that in November 2021, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) introduced the SCALES strategy to rapidly ramp up COVID-19 vaccine coverage by expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines outside the health facility. Mass vaccination sites were established at all public places such as markets, parks, shopping malls, schools, mosques, and churches.

“Although the SCALES strategy has proven to be quite effective in ramping up COVID-19 vaccination coverage, the proportion of fully vaccinated Nigerians is still very low, partly because we have been using two-dose vaccines” said Dr Osagie Ehanire, the minister of Health, at the launch of S.C.A.L.E.S 2.0 strategy and vaccination site on Tuesday in Abuja

Dr Ehanire explained that most persons lost interest to return for a second dose as a result of the adverse event following immunization(AEFI) after their first jab.

He said “Unfortunately, most people are reluctant to take their second dose for various reasons including fear of a repeat of the mild side effects they may have experienced with the first dose.”

Dr Ehanire noted that the government, through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) will continue to strive to make COVID-19 vaccination more accessible to the people. He added that there’s enough JOHNSON AND JOHNSON vaccine in the country for eligible persons.

“Let me assure Nigerians that we have adequate stock of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, as we have over 30 million doses in stock. I call on all eligible persons that are yet to receive their vaccination to go to the nearest COVID-19 vaccination site and get vaccinated. This single dose offers the same protection you get from two doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer Bio-N-Tech and Moderna vaccines” he said.

The health minister explained that the S.C.A.L.E.S 2.0 strategy involves routine immunization for children and COVID-19 immunization for eligible adults
He said, “There is a unique opportunity to leverage the SCALES strategy using COVID-19 vaccination structures and resources to improve Routine Immunization (RI) coverage, with improved efficiency and reduced duplication of efforts by health care workers. This is to ensure that while controlling the transmission of COVID-19, Nigeria does not become a fertile ground for outbreak of childhood vaccine preventable diseases by rapidly increasing RI uptake alongside COVID-19 uptake.

“It has become imperative that we launch the SCALES 2.0 Strategy, which entails the integration of COVID-19 vaccination with childhood routine immunization for eligible adults 18 years and above and children zero to two years respectively, leveraging Mass Vaccination Campaigns, Routine Immunization Fixed sessions, Outreach services and Mobile services. We are also formally rolling out the Johnson and Johnson single dose vaccine while introducing the COVID-19 vaccination site finder.

“This means that all childhood vaccination, including administration of vitamin A, will now be done alongside COVID-19 vaccination at COVID-19 vaccination sites. Eligible children will now be able to receive their BCG, Penta 3, OPV 3, OPV 1&2, Measles, Yellow Fever vaccines, as well as Vitamin A supplement, at the sites where the adults receive COVID-19 vaccines. This is the good news we are bringing to Nigerians today”

Speaking earlier at the event, The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Dr Faisal Shuaib, who said the opportunity to have a single shot not only in the hardest to reach areas but by everybody having access to one single shot will definitely increase coverage for Covid-19 vaccination.

Dr Shuaib added that the present record of daily vaccination in the country is 200,000 but there is a need to increase it to 550,000 persons daily to reach a target of vaccinated 70 percent of eligible population before the end of 2022.

He said “we are going to be talking about what we are doing differently to ensure that we not only decentralize Covid-19 vaccination but make sure that we improve coverage and access to Covid-19 vaccination. Today we are vaccinating at over 200,000 people per day. For us to be able to reach our target of reaching 70 percent of eligible population before the end of 2022, we have to make it 550,000 people per day. That means more than doubling the number of people that are vaccinated.”

Dr Shuaib explained that with the launch of the vaccination site and the Johnson and Johnson single dose vaccine across Nigeria, a huge improvement should be recorded.

He explained that the introduction of the vaccination finder will improve the ability of Nigerians to access Covid-19 vaccination sites.

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