The new Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa has revealed that the introduction of vaccines has proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19 with benefits such as less severe outcomes and declines in hospitalization.

Dr Adetifa, who recently replaced Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu after the completion of his tenure, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

He added that despite the unfortunate issues of lack of access which many regions of the world continue to face, Nigeria has made incredible progress.

What the NCDC boss is saying

Dr Adetifa acknowledged that the pandemic has provided an opportunity to strengthen the resilience of our health systems to respond better to current outbreaks and prepare for future public health threats.

“One key area we have improved on during the response is genomic surveillance. This enables immediate detection of emerging variants of concern so as to initiate and sustain required policy and public health response measures.

“Our focus remains to continue to support states and work with relevant institutions to sustain response efforts around surveillance, case management, laboratory diagnosis, and risk communication to keep our cases low,” he said.

He also revealed that the NCDC has been closely working with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) on its vaccination campaign.

“Vaccines have proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19 with benefits such as less severe outcomes and declines in hospitalisation.

“For a few years, I had watched the progress at NCDC. I am not only proud of the agency but also challenged by the incredible work that has been done in the past five years.

“The speed at which capacities have been built here at NCDC, under the leadership provided by Ihekweazu.

“The strength, commitment and diligence of the NCDC staff and supporting partners give me hope and something to look forward to,” he said.

He stated that his focus in the next few weeks is to work with NCDC and its sister agencies, and partners to understand their work better so we can collectively build on the gains made so far in line with the NCDC mandate.

What you should know

As at October 31st, 2021, in 36 States + the FCT, a total of 5,693,300 eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination was reached with first dose while 3,079,239 of total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination was reached with second dose.