COVID-19: Vaccination can’t totally stop infection – Health Minister, Ehanire

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Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, has said the partial or full vaccination against the dreaded COVID-19 is not enough reason to drop non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) guards or a guarantee against infection.

Ehanire said this on Monday in Abuja at the national briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19.

“Nigeria has so far tested a total of 3,392,457 samples, of which 213,147 were confirmed positive for COVID-19, while active cases are 4,447 and cases discharged to date are 205,732.

”There have sadly been 2,968 COVID-19-related fatalities with a case fatality rate of 1.39 per cent.

“The present infection surge in certain European countries, who already had vaccination over 60 per cent, is proof that full vaccination is no reason to drop our guard or a guarantee against infection,” Ehanire said.

The minister also said that bed occupancy in the week under review was 16.17 per cent in 86 isolation wards, and oxygen was widely available, mainly in cylinders, with oxygen concentrators as a backup.

“There is no surge in demand. A review of oxygen situation in 125 treatment centres is ongoing, to also identify non-functional plants for repair,” he said.

Ehanire said a majority of patients (67 per cent) on admission in isolation wards had co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which are known determinants of the severity of COVID-19 illness.

“The same finding has been made in some Eastern European countries where severe waves of COVID-19 are currently raging.

“Despite palpable fatigue among citizens on adherence to COVID-19 preventive protocols, I have hardly encountered any person who didn’t have a face mask.

”Oddly enough, they would leave their mask on their pocket or handbag and wear it on demand.

“Others wear it on their chin. The mask is not helpful anywhere except it covers the mouth and nose.

”Global trends suggest that public health measures like masks and social distancing are still very useful protection against infection,” he said.

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