Nigeria has maintained a sustained COVID-19 Vaccination rollout in recent months to exceed the milestone of fully vaccinating 30 percent of its total population.
The increase from less than 3 per cent coverage with a primary series in January 2022 to over 30 per cent in January 2023 is a result of dedicated efforts by the government and stakeholders in rolling out relevant strategies to sustain COVID-19 vaccination amidst competing health priorities.
Key drivers behind the success of this year’s drive include leadership and improved coordination at the local, state and national level as well as innovation such as increase of mobile vaccination sites.
With more teams being supported to take the vaccines to communities, rather than wait for visits to facilities, missed opportunities are being reduced.
The country also adopted a strategy to track the performance of the vaccination teams in the various states through the daily call-in data. Performance of states are being ranked, and this is disseminated daily on social media and provides healthy competition across the states.
Nigeria has also set up COVID-19 Crisis Communication Center (CRICC) at the national and state levels ensured targeted demand generation activities were adopted and rolled out across the country
Nigeria has maintained COVID-19 vaccine rollout through campaigns and initiatives with the support of stakeholders including Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. COVAX, which Gavi co-leads with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), WHO and UNICEF has supplied over 91 million COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria (about 65% of all vaccines received) and over 669 Million to the African continent.
The country has also developed an integrated micro-plan featuring routine immunization alongside COVID-19 vaccinations with a bottom-up approach taking into account individual state’s plans.
The country has also integrated a service delivery approach with teams empowered to provide multiple arrays of services – COVID-19 vaccination, routine immunization ensuring that other key health services were not neglected.
Dr. Richard Mihigo, Director of COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery, Coordination and Integration at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which leads on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX, comments on Nigeria’s progress:
“Nigeria has become a case study on how to roll out COVID-19 vaccines at scale and speed and at the same time, catch up on routine immunization programmes. The country’s surveillance systems are efficient and precise, enabling monitoring of trends as well as promptly responding to counter vaccine misinformation increasing acceptability of the vaccines.
To ensure continued momentum, Gavi in December approved a new round of COVID-19 vaccine delivery support (CDS) availing $27.7m, which will go to further accelerate the rollout of vaccines.
Gavi is proud to support Nigeria’s efforts and congratulates it on the progress it has made to date on protecting its population.”
Photo story: COVAX vaccinations underway in Kenya (top, ©UNICEF Kenya); Rwanda (bottom-left, ©MoH Rwanda); Nigeria (bottom-right, ©NPHCDA).