The Federal Government, while celebrating the African Vaccination Week, has launched a new vaccine – rotavirus vaccine – for children under five years of age. The vaccine has been added to the nation’s Routine Immunization Schedule(RIS).This was announced by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire who was represented by the Public Health Department Director, Morenike Alex-Okoh.
According to the minister, the rotavirus vaccine is expected to prevent the recipients from being infected with any diarrhea based disease. He said the vaccines were gotten by the Federal Government in partnership with GAVI and some other partners as well as donors. This was considered to be the government’s response to childhood rotavirus mortality in the nation. According to Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), no less than 50,000 children die annually from rotavirus infection.
The dosage and administration of the vaccine is the same with the current dosage administration schedule for immunization vaccines – first dosage at six weeks, second at ten weeks and the third dosage at fourteen (14) weeks respectively.
Although the World Health Organisation Country Representative, Walter Kazadi Mulombo reported that the rotavirus vaccine has been introduced in several countries and has been effective in reducing about 50% deaths among children in those nations, this praise report is not widely spread as the media seemed quiet about it. That, has stirred suspicion among citizens: there are thoughts that the rotavirus vaccine may be as the COVID vaccine – many praise reports, only to find out few months down the line that the vaccine was, and is not what it was presented to be.
Nigerians are skeptical about the vaccine and many have chosen to take the back seat and watch for a while before venturing into it.