Bayelsa State Government has officially flagged off the COVID-19 vaccination in the state after receiving its own share of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from the Federal Government.
About 44,180 doses of the vaccine were received according to the Commissioner for Health, Dr Pabara Newton Igwele.
Governor Douye Diri, represented by his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrujakpo, expressed joy that the vaccines will help to reduce the spread of the virus and also curb its devastating effect on people.
He stated that Bayelsa still has one of the lowest case incidences in the country because of the proactive steps that were taken to control the pandemic and lauded the state health team for doing a good job.
He said : “I’m receiving the vaccines on behalf of the Miracle Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri. The prosperity government believes that there can be no prosperity without health. We deployed all the resources available to us to ensure we control the pandemic.
“I want to assure you that the Governor is enthusiastic about receiving the vaccines. You cannot talk about prosperity without a healthy society and this vaccines will ensure that the health and safety of Bayelsans are guaranteed.
“We’ve escalated both pharmaceutical and non pharmaceutical methods to ensure the pandemic is controlled. Bayelsa has one of the lowest case incidence in Nigeria and the vaccines will oxygenate the efforts of the state government in controlling the pandemic”.
He also appreciated the efforts of traditional rulers in the state for lending their voices to convince Bayelsans that the vaccine is safe, and thanked development partners for their contribution to healthcare delivery in the state.
“To our brothers and sisters, take this vaccine, it is safe and it is in your interest. Still use your facemasks and other preventive measures until you take the second jab. We will do all that is in our power to get the vaccines to everyone”.
In his remarks, Dr. Igwele said the state received its own share on the 10th of March at about 2am.
He disclosed that a two day training has been organized for healthcare professionals who will administer the vaccine, assuring that it is safe and ready to be distributed across the state.
Representing the United States Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Gatei Wa Nganda congratulated the state on behalf of the U.S Government, and commended Bayelsa State for the detailed planning in receiving, storing and distributing the vaccines.
He added that it is important and critical to take the vaccines, assuring of its safety while also pledging the support of the US Government in the roll out of vaccines, in analysis, data management and other key areas of health services.
Representatives of development partners such as the the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) in their goodwill messages, praised the government for their efforts so far and pledged to do more for the state. High point of the event was the vaccination of the Deputy Governor, the Commissioner for Health, and other government dignitaries.