By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has officially flagged-off COVID-19 vaccination in the state.
According to a statement signed by the Director General (Press Affairs)Government House Gombe, Ismaila Uba Misilli, tye Governor was administered the first dose of the AstraZeneca by his personal physician, Dr. Bello Abdulkadir at the banquet hall of the Government House. Speaking shortly after being inoculated, the Governor said the coming of the COVID-19 vaccine signals a return to normalcy through the gradual lifting of travel and work restrictions. “We are grateful to the Federal Government for its role in ensuring Nigeria is not left out of the global vaccine programme. On our part, Government is making necessary plans to ensure the success of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign through careful mapping and targeting of eligible persons during this first phase of the campaign”. He said the first phase of the vaccination programme will prioritize healthcare workers in both public and private health facilities, this he added, is in line with global best practices where front-line healthworkers and other associated health personnel are given priority.
The Governor said, “subsequent phases of the vaccination campaign will target persons above 50 years of age, those with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and asthma”.
He vouched for the safety and efficacy of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, saying “My decision, and that of other senior government officials to take the vaccine in this phase is to demonstrate confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccination programme”. Governor Yahaya said his administration will continue to accord great priority to the health of its citizens, saying as the Governor of the state he has the responsibilty to ensure that the health and wellbeing of the people in the state is given the needed attention.
“Gombe State is among the best states across the country that worked tirelessly to curb the spread of COVID-19 among its people. My Government has establised six isolation centers and built a standard molecular diagnostic laboratory in the fight against covid-19, the rapid response team have also been supported with logistics to conduct there activities across the state”. Governor Inuwa Yahaya therefore urged political office holders, religious and traditional leaders to support the implementation of Covid-19 vaccination across all the local government areas in the State.
“The State has received a total of 71,340 doses of the vaccines from the Federal Government through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, the vaccines have been found to be very safe and certified by the WHO at the international level and NAFDAC here in the Nigeria”.
The Governor said as people of faith, it is fact that healing and protection come from God alone, but that both Islam and Christianity also commanded their adherents to take medications and other precautions during periods of ill-health. He emphasized that “vaccinations, just like in the past, have proven to be effective in reducing morbidities and mortalities among our people”. Governor yahaya used the occasion to express his appreciation to the Federal Government for making the vaccines available to Nigerians and to frontline healthworkers for their various sacrifices in the battle against COVID-19 in the state. The Governor equally appreciated health partners of the State, especially the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, W.H.O and UNICEF for their technical support in the areas of immunization and other primary health care activities in the State.
Earlier speaking, the Chairman, Coordinating Committee of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Gombe State, Dr. Manassah Daniel Jatau said in the past one year, the State has tested a total of 34, 246 persons of the covid-19 virus.
Of this number, Dr. Jatau said 2,054 persons tested positive while 1,971 recovered from the virus.
He said at the moment, the State has 9 active cases and recorded a total of 44 deaths since the inception of the virus some 365 days ago.
Dr. Manassah Jatau who is the State Deputy Governor, commended Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya for distinguishing himself in the fight against the covid-19 virus by providing the necessary facilities to tame the its spread in the State.
Foremost Epidemiologist, Professor Idris Mohammed enjoined the people of the State not to entertain any reservations about the AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine as no scientific proof has suggested that the vaccine is harmful.
The State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Habu Dahiru had told the gathering that the administration of the vaccine will be in four phases with the first covering frontline health workers in both public and private hospitals and those in the Rapid Response Team.
He said other phases of the vaccination exercise will involve the aged from 50 and above and those with underlying health conditions.
In his vote of thanks, the Executive Secretary, Gombe State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Abdulrahman Shuaibu thanked Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya for displaying leadership in the fight against the covid-19 virus.
He said the symbolic vaccination of the Governor will not only allay the fears associated with the efficacy of the vaccine but will improve the uptake of it by members of the public.
To flag-off the vaccination exercise, the Governor led dignitaries, including his Deputy, Dr. Manassah Daniel Jatau, Speaker, Rt. Hon. Abubakar Luggerewo, SSG, Head of Civil Service, Commissioners and other government functionaries in taking the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.