The Federal Government of Nigeria said it is using the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to reach out to hard-to-reach areas for effective vaccination of the people in the interiors against the dreaded COVID-19 virus.

The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib made this known during the weekly press briefing to update Nigerians on the vaccination rollout.

Dr. Faisal said for the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the Agency has mapped out the hard-to-reach areas across all states, such as security-compromised, riverine, nomadic and border settlements where the vaccines would be deployed to.

He also said the reason for targeting the areas with the Johnson & Johnson is because of geographical constraints. “As a one-dose vaccine, it removes the additional logistic cost for going to the communities twice.”

He stressed that “We have developed the necessary protocols to guide the States and ensure compliance with the distribution guideline for the vaccine.”

The ED further explained that “the AstraZeneca vaccine will be used as the second dose for those who have received their first dose during the first phase to ensure they are fully protected.”

He said, “the administration of AstraZeneca vaccine will commence on the 25th of August and will close on 5th of September,” adding that “As we receive more supplies, we will then open it up for those who may wish to take their first dose.”

He urged Nigerians aged 18 years and above who have not been vaccinated to “visit any of our vaccination sites to receive their first dose of Moderna vaccine.”

He called on persons who have been vaccinated “to continue to observe the non-pharmaceutical measures such as wearing of facemask, observing hand hygiene, physical distancing, and avoiding crowds and unnecessary travels until the country achieves herd immunity.”

Also speaking at the press briefing, Country Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo said the country like any other country in the world is experiencing the 3rd wave of the pandemic and called on Nigerians to avail themselves for vaccination.

He said for now vaccines are the most potent tool against the disease, adding that “all vaccines that have been approved by NAFDAC have been certified by the WHO. They are safe and effective in preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death.”

Country Representative of UNICEF, represented by Dr. Gagan Gupta, called on health workers who by their jobs are exposed to the virus to shun all forms of apprehension and not only take the vaccine but also to be advocates by propagating the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines.