COVID-19 affected routine immunisation in FCT – Director

Dr Ruqayya Wamakko, the Director, Primary Healthcare Unit, FCT Primary Health Care Board (FPHCB) says COVID-19 adversely affected its  services, especially routine immunisation in the territory.

Wamakko made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in commemoration of the World Immunisation Week usually marked from April 24 to April 30.

She said that the effect of COVID-19 on routine immunisation of the children was unfavourable as the FCT primary healthcare services decreased.

“The FCT Primary Healthcare facilities used to be overwhelmed before the arrival of COVID-19 but as the virus came, people no longer show up regularly for immunisation of their children at our facilities.

 “People are scared, they are afraid because of COVID-19, they did not come out particularly at that period when the issue was still hot; people were running away from accessing our services, which includes routine immunisation for children.

“As it is now, COVID-19 slowed down at a stage and the services began to pick up again but when the second surge now came up, the services began to run down again.

“Now again, COVID-19 vaccination is ongoing, people are running away from vaccination and we are receiving hesitancy here and there from the healthcare workers, the learned people and other stakeholders.

“People are running away from getting vaccination, this is not encouraging at all.  The FCT is doing a lot to make sure that people understand and accept COVID-19 vaccination and this is the only way out.

“When there was no vaccine for COVID-19, people were dying of it, and now that the vaccine are available, people are making a lot of noise about it; please people should take it,” she pleaded.

Wamakko said that the FCT administration had extended COVID-19 vaccination till May 3 and called on FCT residents to visit FCT-owned health facility to get vaccinated.

She called on Nigerians to shun social media news about COVID-19 vaccine, adding that most of such “news are fake, as they are out to cause distractions’’.

“Whenever there is an innovation, people must have something to say and people must shun every negative thinking about COVID-19 vaccine and do the needful,’’ she said.

 Wamakko called on anyone who took the first dose of Astrazeneca vaccine to endeavour to take the second dose at the appropriate time, saying “only one dose cannot have significant immunity on the virus’’.

She urged people to continue to observe the non-pharmaceutical measures of protection such as use of facemask and hand sanitiser, washing of hands under running water and avoid crowded places.

She called on community leaders, traditional rulers, religious leaders, health workers and other professionals to encourage their subject to take COVID-19 vaccination serious, saying “the vaccine is safe’’. (NAN)