Even as the new Covid19 Omicron Variant becomes more widespread, the civil society coalition in Lagos State have concluded plans to start monitoring of the third phase of the vaccination exercise.
In a recently released statement, the coalition, coordinated by the Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st); commended the Lagos State Government for its dynamic approach to combating the Covid19 pandemic and unflagging determination to ensure mass vaccination of Lagos residents. This is seen in the engagement of private health facilities in the administration of COVID-19 vaccines in the bid to consolidate mass vaccination.
According to the Executive Director of C21st, Ms Titi Akosa, ‘We firmly believe involvement of the private sector in COVID-19 vaccination would enhance rapid and efficient administration of available vaccines’.
During the first and second phases of vaccination, the coalition deployed field monitors for the exercise which led to concrete findings and recommendations forwarded to Lagos State Ministry of Health (LSMOH) and Lagos State Primary Health Care Board (LSPHCB).
In continuation of engagement of the vaccination exercise in Lagos State, the coalition will deploy field monitors across vaccination centres especially private facilities across the state during the ongoing third phase. Monitoring of the third phase of vaccination has become imperative to further ensure that vaccination exercise is carried in conformity with outlined guidelines under conducive facilities by health officials.
Consequently, the coalition will be deploying the outcome of the third phase monitoring exercise to engage Lagos State Government and relevant agencies including the Lagos State Ministry of Health (LSMOH) and Lagos State Primary Health Care Board (LSPHCB) towards improving responses to health emergencies and future pandemic.
The coalition therefore calls on government to ensure that guidelines and standards of operation for private facilities are spelt out to ensure efficient and safe vaccination.
One sticking point, according to Ms Akosa remains the issue of chargeable fees at health facilities. ‘For us at the coalition, we believe it is very important to deploy clear communication and appropriate information regarding fees to be paid by vaccine recipients in private facilities. The fees to be charged are for services rendered by the private facilities and not payment for vaccines.’
While urging residents to make themselves available for vaccination and ensure protection against the fourth wave of COVID-19 amidst emerging cases from new variants; the coalition also advocates that with more variants being discovered, it is very important that Lagos residents adhere to non-pharmaceutical protocols such as wearing facemasks, hand washing, physical distancing and hygiene practices to guide against COVID-19 infections.
To assist Lagos State achieve herd immunity, the coalition promises to continue monitoring public and private vaccination centres to assist Lagos State Government achieve its target of herd immunity.