The recent disclosure from the World Health Organization (WHO) signals a pressing healthcare concern with the emergence of 25 new COVID-19 cases in Benue State, North-Central Nigeria.

During an urgent healthcare engagement and orientation meeting on COVID-19 response in Makurdi, the state capital, Ogechukwu Chigbo, the WHO surveillance officer for the region, highlighted this critical development.

Chigbo emphasized the ongoing prevalence of COVID-19 in Nigeria, urging immediate action and constructive measures, particularly the utilization of available vaccines as a pivotal step in mitigating the situation.

Concurrently, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has been actively monitoring the new EG.5 and BA.2.86 subvariants of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, reported across 51 countries since August.

Although the NCDC hasn’t yet confirmed these new cases in Benue State, their COVID-19 dashboard, updated as of December 13, documents a cumulative count of 266,675 confirmed cases and 3,155 deaths across 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Underlining the urgency of healthcare interventions, Chigbo stressed the indispensable need for widespread vaccination, citing the 25 recorded cases in Benue without fatalities as a compelling reason for immediate action.

In an effort to strengthen healthcare accessibility, the WHO has integrated COVID-19 vaccination into routine healthcare services in the state. This approach aims to bolster community acceptance and uptake of vaccines.

Addressing prevalent misconceptions, Chigbo reaffirmed the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine in averting severe infections. Urging proactive participation, she urged individuals to seek the free vaccines available in various healthcare facilities offering routine immunization.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) disclosed that, as of October 31, 70 percent of eligible individuals in Nigeria are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with 80 percent having received at least one dose.

Additionally, the NPHCDA revealed that 17.5 million fully vaccinated individuals in Nigeria have received booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines, underlining the proactive approach in fortifying immunity against the virus.


source newstimes

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