The Lagos State Government has warned of a possible outbreak of the fourth wave of Covid-19 infection across the country.

The state government fears that this could be triggered by the large volume of inbound passengers arriving the state for Christmas and New Year festivities, low vaccination and the anticipated social activities in the festive season.

This was disclosed by the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, at a press briefing on the Lagos State Covid-19 response and mass vaccination strategy, noting that the state government is currently implementing strategies to prevent and mitigate a possible fourth wave of Covid-19 infections.

What the Lagos State Commissioner for Health is saying

Abayomi explained that 4-pronged strategies are being employed including vaccination strategy, testing strategy, management of inbound passengers of interest into the country and managing social events during the festive season to prevent and mitigate a potential fourth wave.

Abayomi disclosed that Lagos currently has 2.67% of its population vaccinated with 2 doses of the Covid vaccines, adding that the State hopes to administer 8 million doses of Covid vaccines to 4 million people by the 25th of December this year.

Abayomi noted that the State Government, as part of its vaccination campaign mandate and approach, is partnering with the private sector to rapidly ramp up Covid-19 vaccination, stressing that the areas of collaboration include leveraging the private sector resources on administration, logistics, distribution, pharmacovigilance and technology.

The Commissioner explained that the administration of Covid-19 vaccines remains free in public health facilities, stating that citizens may be required to pay an administrative fee of N6,000 for 2 doses of the vaccines in private health facilities as an alternative for interested persons.

He noted that payments for receipt of Covid-19 vaccines at private health facilities are not for the vaccines, but only for an administrative charge to the private facilities for resources and technology deployed in the administration.

Abayomi said, “Let me just for the point of clarity say that we are not charging for the vaccine; the vaccine has been given to us by the Federal Government free. We are just charging and covering the cost of the logistics and the overheads of the private sector that has been brought in under the oversight of the government to make sure that we increase the number of vaccination sites across Lagos, and make sure that every citizen of Lagos can easily access a location where they can get a free vaccine at a modest fee for vaccine administration.’

While noting that the waves of COVID-19 experienced in Lagos State have been caused by seasonal increase and influx of inbound passengers from other countries into Lagos, the Commissioner disclosed that the state government is poised to strictly enforce the new international travel protocols and guidelines for vaccinated and unvaccinated inbound passengers.

What you should know

This new warning is coming a few weeks after Nigeria appears to be recovering from the outbreak of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic which was exacerbated by the new Delta Variant.

Recall that the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had several weeks ago, said Lagos has successfully overcome Covid-19 third wave and is already taking proactive measures to banish the virus from the state completely.

The state government has also announced the suspension of Greater Lagos Fiesta, due to the fourth wave of Covid-19 scare. It stated that the suspension was necessary just as Europe, the epi-centre of the Covid-19 pandemic, reintroduced restrictions to tackle the fourth wave of the pandemic.