Nearly two weeks after the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, some states are yet to begin vaccination.
They include Oyo, Yobe, Cross River and Kogi states.
No fewer than five governors are yet to publicly take the vaccine.
The governors resolved at the March 4 Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) meeting to take the vaccine publicly on March 10 with their deputies. They are also to roll out vaccine in their states.
Some of the governors yet to take jabs are Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Ben Ayade (Cross River), Mai-Mala Buni (Yobe), Duoye Diri (Bayelsa) and Nyesom Wike (Rivers).
The NGF said states helmsmen and their deputies would receive jabs publicly to encourage residents to get vaccinated.
There is vaccine apathy in some states, such as Kano, Abia and Gombe, over safety concerns.
Oyo, which received the vaccine last Friday, said it was still preparing for the roll out.
Commissioner for Health Dr Bashir Bello said: “We are trying to ensure that the state modifies its website.”
He said the state was also taking precautions to minimise adverse reactions from the vaccine, especially after some European countries suspended its use.
“One of the factors some countries gave for suspending the vaccine was intravascular coagulation, a factor which means that the blood will clot within the vessels.
“If it blocks any part of the body and it is no longer vacuolated, that is paralysis for that side because there is no blood in circulation.
“If perchance it involves the coronary artery, which is a very tiny one, it will lead to shock and immediate death.
“So, we now add what we call a coagulometer, which we have had at the Olodo (Infectious Disease Centre) all along and it is going to be optional. That is one of the precautions Oyo State is trying to take along with its vaccination procedure.
“We decided to carry out a sterility test to determine if the vaccine does not have any other secondary form of infective substance.
“So, all these are being carried out at present at our two laboratories. Within the next few days, we will have some results on the test.
“We also have to prepare about three centres – fixed vaccination centres – in various LGAs.”
Vaccination of frontline workers and others has not begun in Yobe. It has not been launched.
Governor Buni was expected to kick it off on Wednesday but did not because he was away in Abuja. It may be launched today, it was learnt.
Diri’s spokesman, Daniel Alabrah, said the Bayelsa governor was not around when vaccination began last Friday.
The spokesman said he did not know his boss’ disposition towards the vaccine.
Rivers Deputy Governor, Dr Ipallibo Banigo-Harry, inaugurated the exercise on Wike’s behalf.
She took the vaccine along with members of the state executive council.
But Wike was not present and is yet to take the jab publicly.
Some residents said the governor might be dodging the injection.
Commissioner for Information and Communication, Paulinus Nsirim, said the governor was not bound to make his vaccination public. “That the governor was not present at the flag-off does not mean that he has not taken the vaccine.
“The deputy governor took the injection publicly. That should be enough,” he added.
Kogi governor Yahaya Bello had said he would not receive the vaccine and that anybody who wished to take it was free to do so.
Many frontline health workers in several states are yet to receive the jabs.
In Ebonyi and Bayelsa states, health workers said they had no idea of when they would be vaccinated.
Some staff members of Alex Ekwueme University Teaching Hospital in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi capital, said they had not heard from the state government or the hospital management on the modalities for the vaccination.
State chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Benjamin Umezuruike, also said he was “not aware” of the vaccination plans and referred our correspondent to the commissioner .
President, National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in Ebonyi State, Dr Nnamdi Anikpo, said his members had not been informed about the vaccination.
“We have to be informed first of all; people cannot just walk in to be vaccinated,” he said, adding that members had not been vaccinated.
The Commissioner for Health, Daniel Umezuruike, could not be reached for comments.
Bayelsa rolled out the vaccination last Friday, with top officials taking their jabs at the Government House.
Some frontline health workers were vaccinated at the main isolation centre located at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri.
But Chairman of NARD, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, Dr Divine Irole, said the vaccination team was yet to get to the facility.
“Maybe they are thinking about how to allocate the doses. But as I speak to you, nobody in the Federal Medical Centre has been vaccinated,” she said.
In Kano State, convincing the people that the vaccine is safe is the major headache of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and his task force on COVID-19.
Many do not believe the virus is real, hence do not observe protocols, such as the use of facemasks.
The governor and other top officials have been vaccinated. Frontline workers and the elderly are expected to be vaccinated next.
The governor has had a series of sensitisation meetings with stakeholders.
Commissioner for Health, Dr Ibrahim Tsanyawa, said the state was “prepared for the exercise”.
Abians are also sceptical over the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Residents of Aba and Umuahia expressed mixed feelings over the vaccine, especially with some European countries halting its use.
Some said they were still monitoring the situation, adding that as soon as the controversy surrounding the vaccine clears, they would take the jabs.
Technical hitches in Katsina
Vaccination commenced on Tuesday in Katsina.
Executive Secretary State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (PHCDA), Dr Shamsudeen Yahaya, said some hiccups were experienced in the registration portal, and that a complaint had been forwarded to the headquarters.
He was uncertain as to when the elderly and the vulnerable would start receiving their jabs, saying the focus was on frontline health workers.
Chairman, Katsina State Nurses Association, Yusuf Isa Matazu, said: “We are happy with the handling of the vaccination process so far.”
Seamless in some states
Anambra began the vaccination of the elderly, vulnerable and frontline workers on Wednesday.
Executive Secretary, Anambra State Primary Healthcare Agency (ASPHCDA), Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu, said online registration was ongoing.
Cross River Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu, said more health workers were still being trained.
“We have several requests to administer the vaccine and we are under pressure to get it done,” he said.
Health workers across Delta are still in the process of receiving shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine, according to the NMA chairman, Dr. Emmanuel Nwose.
He said the vaccination officials were moving from one health station to another to administer the vaccine.
The elderly and vulnerable groups in Delta may face a longer wait to get the jabs due to insufficient quantity of the doses, it was learnt.
Chairman, Delta NMA, Dr Emmanuel Nwose, stressed that the next batch will only be available in May.
He said the first consignment of 85,700 Covid-19 vaccines would be not meet the needs of frontline health workers due to their large number.
At least 180 people have received their jabs in Bauchi.
Executive Chairman of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BASPHCDA), Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, said the vaccination would take place for 10 days across the 20 council areas.
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) began the administration of the vaccine on Monday.
FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, said: “The FCTA will ensure that all stages of the vaccine roll-out are equitably and fairly implemented and all the 227,480 doses received are accounted for.”
Gombe State Commissioner for Health, Dr Habu Dahiru, urged traditional rulers and faith leaders not to entertain any fear over the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying it is safe.
He spoke at an advocacy programme at the palace of the Emir of Gombe.
Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, said only about 8,000 Nigerians have received their first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine so far.
Early in the month, Nigeria took delivery of 3.94 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca through the World Health Organisation (WHO)-led COVID-19 Vaccines Global Assess Facility (COVAX) facility.
The 3.94 million AstraZeneca vaccines received is part of an overall 16 million doses planned to be delivered to Nigeria in batches.
In all, the country expects approximately 127 million vaccine doses.