The National Diphtheria Emergency Task Team announced on Thursday that they have vaccinated a total of 1,692,762 children in seven states who have been greatly affected by the ongoing Diphtheria outbreak.
This vaccination effort includes 56 local government areas. The team emphasized the importance of this vaccination in protecting against the disease.
Additionally, 3,166,419 children between the ages of four and 14 have received the tetanus-diphtheria (Td) vaccines, further strengthening their defense against the disease.
These measures were taken as part of phase 2 Round 1 of the team’s outbreak response, which began on September 23, 2023, and has been carried out in seven states.
During a media briefing in Abuja, Dr Faisal Shuaib, Co-Chairman of the team and Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), stated that Kano State, which has been the epicenter of the epidemic, has demonstrated the federal government’s commitment by vaccinating 1,111,310 children with Td vaccines and 544,737 children with Pentavalent vaccines in the current vaccination phase.
In addition, hotspot areas like Katsina have vaccinated 403,252 children with Td vaccines and 255,075 children with Pentavalent vaccines. Other states including Kaduna, Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, and Yobe have also shown dedication to protecting the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of children through their vaccination campaigns.
Faisal said, “This collective achievement builds upon our earlier Phase 1 response conducted in August 2023, during which we covered 2,370,918 children, ensuring they received the necessary vaccinations to shield them from the Diphtheria menace. These figures not only illustrate our unrelenting commitment to safeguarding our nation’s children but also serve as a testament to the power of collective action in the face of adversity.”
Shuaib said the ongoing vaccination phase has made a tangible difference in protecting the lives of 4,859,181 children across these affected states
He said it was disheartening to note that children and adults alike continue to fall victim to this entirely preventable disease.
Moreover, the fact that over 600 individuals, predominantly children, have lost their lives is even more distressing. It is crucial to understand that each new case is not merely a number; it signifies a family in turmoil, a community mourning, and a country grappling with unnecessary suffering.
This should serve as a wake-up call, reminding us that if we fail to take action, this disease can lead to catastrophic consequences. However, there is a solution readily available – a safe and effective vaccine that can prevent this illness and save lives.
The speaker further highlights that the Diphtheria vaccine has proven to be exceptionally effective in preventing the spread of this disease. By ensuring that our children and communities receive this vaccine, we establish a formidable defense against Diphtheria.
Vaccination should not be seen as a personal choice, but rather a collective responsibility to protect our most vulnerable citizens and maintain the health of our nation.