By Hassan Zaggi
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has said that vaccines administered to children in the country are safe and that they are being given free of charge.
This is contrary to the misleading insinuations making the round in the social media that vaccines are harmful.
The Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this at a meeting with staff of the agency, in Abuja, yesterday.
Dr. Shuaib, therefore, urged all Nigerians to disregard the audio and the video clips being circulated in the social media and, in fact, any other publication that suggests anything less than safety, protection of life and strengthening of population immunity with immunization exercise and activities.
Dr. Shuaib also described as false, the information trending in some social media platforms that the Federal Government has stopped free immunization for the Nigerian children.
He, however, assured members of the public and parents in particular, that Nigeria has adequate vaccines for immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases.
Shuaib further emphasized that immunization of all antigens in the national immunization schedule remain free of charge to all parents and members of the public.
The Executive Director appealed to Nigerians to desist from playing politics with lives, safety and growth of Nigerian Children.
“As entrusted public health professionals, NPHCDA undertakes its mandate of making Nigerian citizens healthy with utmost sense of integrity and moral responsibility,” he reiterated.
In a statement by the Head, Media and Publicity of the agency, Saadu Salahu, Dr. Shuaib called on health care providers not to charge the public for immunization services, stressing that the vaccines are provided free.
He charged members of the public to direct any inquiries on immunization and PHC to the following Toll-Free numbers; 0803123o415, 08031230416.
Emphasising the benefits of immunization, the Executive Director said they include saving the lives of children and women of child bearing age and strengthening population immunity against vaccine preventable diseases.
He further revealed that vaccines and health commodities used by the NPHCDA for all public health programmes are pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO). They are equally certified safe for use by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Dr. Shuaib called on Nigerians to continue to support governments at all levels and make their children and wards available for immunization at Primary Health Care facilities nearest to them.
He applauded development partners and donor agencies for what he described as their huge investment in immunization towards the growth, wellbeing and the safety of the Nigerian children and women.
He, however, pledged the continued determination and commitment of the Federal Government to work closely with religious and traditional leaders, development partners, donor agencies and the civil society organizations.