Lagos, 12 March, 2021 – Today, Lagos State joins other States across Nigeria to Flag-off COVID19 vaccination; prioritizing frontline health workers in the first phase of the exercise with 507,00 doses received from the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Speaking at the venue of the Flag-off ceremony,  the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who also received the Astrazenca vaccine urged Nigerians to disregard rumours and misinformation making the rounds about the vaccine as he puts it, “The Federal and Lagos State Governments have done due diligence to establish the vaccines efficacy and safety.’ 

The Governor however said that vaccination is not the end of the pandemic and all citizens must continue to adhere to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as hand hygiene, use of face mask and maintaining physical distancing if the pandemic is to be controlled.

Recall that on 02 March 2021 Nigeria received 3.92 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, through the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO. The arrival marked a historic step towards the goal of ensuring equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally, in what will be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history. This delivery is the first wave of arrivals in Nigeria and more are expected in-country in the coming weeks. Nigeria on its part, has distributed the vaccines to all 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory to kick-start the vaccination exercise.

Earlier in a Press briefing to herald the vaccination exercise, Professor Akin Abayomi, who later received the first jab of COVID-19 vaccine in Lagos State also used the opportunity of the Press briefing to address concerns around the AstraZeneca vaccine, already being administered to thousands of Nigerian health workers, noting that, “ the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks, and the communication from WHO and relevant government agencies gives us confidence to proceed with vaccination to prevent a third wave of the pandemic.”

Currently, Lagos is the epicenter of covid-19 pandemic having recorded 56,804 positive cases, with 55695 discharged, while 422 people unfortunately have died. This first phase of COVID-19 vaccination targets frontline health workers, laboratory staff, covid-19 Rapid Response Team, the Police, and strategic leaders, among others.

The WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo who witnessed the launch said, “I congratulate Lagos for the landmark Flag-off of the COVID19. The WHO looks forward to Lagos, the epicenter of the pandemic in Nigeria successfully rolling out the vaccine and as usual leading by example. WHO has endorsed the vaccine as safe and effective for Emergency use.”

Other partners at the vaccination flag-off included UNICEF, Rotary and Clinton Health Access Initiative amongst others supported Lagos to kick-start the vaccination exercise.