Lagos State Health Commissioner, Prof. Akin Abayomi has tasked citizens who have received the first dose of the Oxford Astrazeneca COVID vaccine and are due for the second dose, to go get the second jab at the vaccination centres where they received the first dose.
Abayomi made the call on Wednesday after receiving his second jab at Folarin Coker Staff Clinic vaccination site located within the Lagos State Government Secretariat, Alausa-Ikeja.
He noted that getting the second dose of the vaccine offers full protection against COVID.
He said: “We are encouraging everybody that has had their first dose to come and collect their second dose, so you are fully immunized. One dose is not enough to give you the protection that you need to fight off the virus if you get exposed. So, I have come for my second dose now; I have had it and as of today, I am fully immunized.
“From the first consignment of the Oxford Astrazeneca COVID vaccine we got from the Federal Government, we have administered the first dose of the vaccine to a segment of our population, we are now in the phase of administering the second dose to those that have received the first dose. It’s been almost two weeks since we started the administration of the vaccine and we have been vaccinating across our 88 vaccination centres”.
Abayomi explained that with the second jab he received, he is certain that his immunity is built up to reduce his chance of getting ill to the point of complication or death if infected with COVID again.
“If I come across the virus either by contacting someone or in an environment when the virus is in the air, the virus will try to infect me again but the vaccination would have built up my immunity; and you know I have had COVID before, so when you’ve had COVID plus the vaccination, you immune system is really high.
“What this means is that you can still catch COVID but it won’t create an illness that results in complications that can lead to death. So what we are trying to do here is not necessarily reduce your chance of infection, but reduce your chance of getting ill and dying; which is what we are all about, we are just trying to save lives”, the Commissioner said.
According to him, there are multiple variants of the virus circulating around the world which the World Health Organization has reclassified into Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants of COVID.
“The virus is changing and as it changes, it can deceive your immune system, so even if you’ve had it before, the new virus variants that are coming on now, your body may not recognize it as the original COVID and it can therefore make you unwell.
“So we are saying, if you’ve had the infection before and you’ve had the two doses of the vaccine, at least it gives you a start to fight the virus and stop you from getting sick”, he added.
Highlighting various strategies put in place by the State Government to mitigate a possible third wave of COVID, Abayomi stated that the most likely source of the virus that is going to cause a third wave in Lagos or in Nigeria is going to be imported.
He said: “Many countries have been through first, second, third, fourth and even fifth waves, that is the nature of pandemics; you get these waves coming and going as people relax and as variants emerge then they go round again and infect the population.
“In Lagos, we have what is called the Third Wave Prevention Strategy and the most likely source of the virus that is going to cause a third wave in Lagos or in Nigeria is going to be imported. So, we have put very tight measures at the airport.
“Anybody coming in from a country where we know there are variants of COVID will get mandatory isolation, a test immediately they arrive and another test on day seven; so we are testing twice now.
“You heard that some people were trying to avoid this new guidelines and the federal government and Lagos State Government is going to come down very hard on them. They will have their passport suspended, they may be arrested, fined and if not a Nigerian, their work permit and visitors’ visa may be cancelled.
“So, these severe sanctions are for people who are going to try and avoid the new guidelines that have been established by the Federal Government to stop the importation into Nigeria which can trigger a third wave”.
“We have picked up some positives and we have isolated them, that means that they cannot spread that virus into the community and that is why we are still enjoying freedom from third wave but if we relax and we do not become as stringent and watchful as we are now, the third wave may come in”, Abayomi stated.