Nigeria: 121 Cases of Vaccine-Derived Polio Virus Recorded in Nigeria - Govt

7 September 2021

The National primary Healthcare Development Agency says about 121 cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 have been recorded across the country.

NPHCDA Executive Director, Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this in Abuja Monday during the agency's third quarter meeting with northern traditional leaders committee on primary health care delivery.

He said vaccine-derived poliovirus differs from the wild polio virus which has been eradicated in Nigeria and the African region.

He said vaccine-derived poliovirus occurs where there is low immunization.

He said: "It occurs where women are not taking their kids for routine immunization services. When there is low routine immunization, and poor water and environmental sanitation, you begin to see that vaccine derived polio virus mutates, just like COVID-19.

"That's why we have these out breaks in the country, and right now we have about 121 cases of it in the environment."

Shuaib said the agency was working with the northern traditional leaders committee on primary health care delivery to mount out break responses and increase routine immunization coverage.

He said an increase in routine immunization coverage would help to tackle disease outbreaks in the country.

"Since 2016, where we had routine immunization coverage of about 33%, we have now increased it up to 71%. So, we have more than doubled the immunization coverage but we need to get to around 90% before we stop seeing outbreaks of diseases. We are not there yet, but the unprecedented increase in routine immunization is going to help us," he said.

UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins said for total eradication of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination must be taken very seriously.

The Emir of Argungu, Kebbi State and chairman of the committee, Alhaji Samaila Muhammadu Mera, said the committee had been enlightening Nigerians on COVID-19 vaccines, and that most districts and village heads in his community had taken their jabs.

The World Health Organization's representative in Nigeria, Walter Kazadi Mulombo, commended northern traditional leaders for their continuous commitment towards ensuring that primary healthcare services become a priority in the country.

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