By Nelson Ekujumi
The various coronavirus vaccination centres established by the state government across the 57 local government council and local development council areas of Lagos State has witnessed an enthusiastic turnout of Lagosians for the Covid-19 vaccine in the second phase of the vaccination exercise which commenced on the 25th of August 2021.
A visit to the centres by our correspondents in the last three weeks of the exercise revealed a large turnout of Lagosians coming out for the first dose and those coming to complete their second dose of the jab.
Our investigation showed that save for the first week of the exercise in which vaccination was carried out on weekend days of Saturday and Sunday, but was discontinued in subsequent weeks, has not in any way dampened the morale of the people in coming out to be vaccinated which could be attributed to increased awareness of the threat to humanity by the pandemic.
From our findings, a lot of the vaccination centres visited commenced operations at 8am in line with official operating time regulations, but full activities of vaccination activities usually started between 9am and 10am, due to the delay in making the vaccines available internally at the centres for one reason or the other. So what is usually done at the centres, most especially at the primary health centres is that the people who turn up, either on their own or through one of the vaccination centres staffs, put down their names in a register and are given tally numbers to ensure orderliness and are then subjected to temperature check, after which they submit their cards for those coming for the second jab or a recorder goes through the technological device to confirm that a first timer has complied with the registration for Covid-19 vaccination online and has been approved to access the centre.
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A noticeable feature of this second phase of Covid-19 vaccination, is that a person cannot be vaccinated if he or she has not registered online. Another observed feature of the exercise revealed during our monitoring, is that there is very high level of compliance with the wearing of nose mask, but the compliance with physical distancing was very low due to the impressive turnout of people at the centres.
The relationship between the vaccination personnel and the people turning up was observed to be very courteous and friendly, and the general briefing before commencement was made before and during vaccination because of those who may have missed out on the information due to the time of arrival.
Also, our correspondents observed that before a person is given the Covid-19 vaccine by the vaccinator, he or she is asked some basic questions such as, do you have a health condition? Have you eaten? After which the vaccine is given. A major requirement for one to be given the vaccine and which was communicated at all the centres visited is for a person to have taken a meal before he or she can be vaccinated.
However, our correspondents reported that in the first two days of the week of 13th and 14th of September, 2021, there was a noticeable shortage of bar code in almost all the vaccination centres in Alimosho local government council area and this made people coming for the first time to be turned back, with the centres attending to only those coming for the second jab, but by the third day of week, the 15th of September, the centres had received enough supplies of the bar code, which created a huge backlog of crowd at the centres. This observation was noticed only in Alimosho local government council area during the period in question.
We also observed based on inquiry at the vaccination centres that the most commonly available vaccines are the Astrazeneca and Moderna variant, but in some centres, after three weeks into the exercise, they had exhausted the Moderna vaccine and are not vaccinating both those coming for the first and second jab with the Astrazeneca vaccine.
As the vaccination continues across Lagos state and Nigerian, one only hopes that the sensitization exercise will be upscaled, so that the centres will continue to witness impressive turnout and collectively we can defeat Covid-19 by people getting vaccinated.