By G9ija

The Lagos State government on Sunday said it has engaged 135 private health facilities for mass vaccination strategy targeted at vaccinating 4 million residents by December, 2021 bringing the total number of vaccination sites in the state to 360.

The State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi explained that the enrolled private facilities were engaged after a rigorous selection and accreditation process that hinges on quality assurance, vaccine safety and follow-up care.

Abayomi added that the list of accredited private and public facilities is available on the website of NPHCDA and official communication channels of the Lagos State Government.

“The State Government decided to partner with the private sector to rapidly ramp up COVID-19 vaccination in order to achieve herd immunity and with a full understanding that a substantial proportion of the population will need to be vaccinated to mitigate the impact of a fourth wave in Lagos. It is also to reduce the impact of the spread of the COVID-19 virus and prevent the re-emergence of the catastrophes witnessed during the previous waves of the pandemic.

“The decision to leverage on the private sector is based solely on our resolve to include private health facilities and corporate institutions as additional sites for the COVID-19 vaccination administration. This is in furtherance of effort to increase the reach and access to the available vaccines provided through the generous contributions and donations by the Federal Government and our donors.

“By doing this, we are once again recognising the impact of the collaboration between the public and private sector for healthcare and strengthening the link for far-reaching initiatives in the State.

“We also understand that there are citizens, who for personal reasons, would prefer to receive the vaccine at the comfort of a private facility. It is important that such citizens should not be deprived access to the vaccine especially as this negates the principle of vaccine equity. Therefore, the involvement of the private sector is important”.

Abayomi added that the Lagos State Government, through the Primary Health Care Board, does not have the capacity alone to ramp up vaccination to a massive level in such a short time and before the deadline without partnering with the private sector.

The Commissioner averred that vaccinating four million residents with two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines will bring the State closer to achieving the mandate of the Lagos State Governor to vaccinate 30 percent of the Lagos population within one year.

He added that this is a concerted effort to achieve the World Health Organization’s (WHO) target of vaccinating 40 percent of the world before the end of this year.

Abayomi noted that registration for vaccination at public and private health facilities will be done online on the website of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) – https://nphcda.vaccination.gov.ng

“It is imperative to emphasise that the vaccines administered in public facilities are free and would remain free to the public as they were contributed to us by the Federal Government and our donor partners, those wishing to receive the vaccines can register and visit any of the designated 225 government facilities and receive their dose totally free of charge.

“I wish to note that no one is compelled to receive their vaccines at any private facility as the vaccines in both are of the same quality and brand.

“It is important again to emphasize that the COVID vaccines donated to Lagos by the Federal Government is free and its administration comes at no cost to citizens who visit any of the designated public vaccination sites located across the 57 local government areas and local council development areas of the State. ”, Abayomi said.