The Bayelsa State Government on Tuesday, August 23, flagged off the Scales 3.0 Covid-19 vaccination campaign, with a call on the people to make themselves available for immunization against the global pandemic.
Flagging off the campaign in Government House, Yenagoa, the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, thanked the Corona Management Systems, the State Ministry of Health, the Primary Healthcare Board, and other critical partners that have made concerted efforts to take the campaign to its present level in the state.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo, who dispelled rumours that the vaccines were unsafe, appealed to the public to take advantage of the third round of the COVID-19 immunization, which had just been launched.
A statement by the Media Aide to the Deputy Governor, Doubara Atasi, quoted Senator Ewhrudjakpo as saying that if the rumours were true, then the health status of many who had taken the vaccines in the first and second rounds would have confirmed the fears, and therefore, called on Bayelsans to get vaccinated to protect themselves against the virus.
The Deputy Governor, who chairs the State Taskforce on Immunization, said the government’s target was to take the vaccination coverage in Bayelsa to at least 70 percent in the short run.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo also reminded all critical stakeholders not to take their attention off routine immunization and primary health coverage, even as the COVID-19 vaccination is being scaled up in the state.
His words: “I want to thank all the stakeholders and our partners — the WHO, UNICEF, Corona Management Systems, the Primary Healthcare Development Agency and others for taking the campaign to this level.
“We thank the COVID-19 partners for making the vaccines available. Let’s make improvement in the vaccination exercise in the state.
“As we launch the COVID-19 Scales 3.0 Strategy Vaccination Campaign, we need to remind ourselves that all the negative things about the COVID-19 vaccinations have been proven wrong.
“Initially, it was scary and even mystical, but finally it has been demystified and has become an ordinary thing we had expected it to be.
“From the last statement made here by the WHO representative, it is clear that the vaccines are working. If they were not working, then the rate of mortality would have gone beyond what we have today.
“We need to put more efforts than we are doing now. While we are talking about COVID-19 vaccination, we must not forget to also talk about routine immunization and primary healthcare coverage, which is the universal coverage of healthcare.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Pabara Newton Igwele, disclosed that the COVID-19 Scales 3.0 Strategy Vaccination Campaign was the third phase of the nationwide immunization exercise and encouraged Bayelsans to ensure they are all vaccinated.
In their separate remarks, the representative of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Mr. Dare Emmanuel Jimoh, and his WHO counterpart, Makio Perekeme, said government and its partners should not relent on the vaccination as the vaccines are safe.
On their part, the Deputy Team Lead, Corona Management Systems, Ms Timiebiere Sabenus, and the representative from UNICEF, Mr Aigbokhan Godswill, thanked the Bayelsa State Government for the flag-off of the campaign.
They expressed the hope that the current campaign would ensure 100 percent coverage of the state.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr.Oluwatoyin Azebi, lauded Government for being proactive towards the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
Dr. Azebi, also commended the state Taskforce on Immunization for the good job it is doing, stressing that with the launch of the campaign, there would be significant improvement in the rate of immunization in Bayelsa.
The highpoint of the programme was the administration of a booster dose on the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.