The Federal Government yesterday flagged off rotavirus vaccine in Nigeria’s Routine Immunization Schedule and this year’s African Vaccination Week.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, represented by Director, Public Health Department, Morenike Alex-Okoh, said the introduction of rotavirus vaccine in Nigeria would directly avert over 110,000 deaths in children under five in the next 10 years.
He said the government, with the support of donors and partners, especially GAVI, had spent huge amounts to provide routine immunization vaccines for children.
He enjoined parents and caregivers to ensure their children are vaccinated against all vaccine-preventable diseases.
Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, said approximately 50,000 deaths occurred in children under five years in Nigeria as a result of rotavirus infection.
He said Nigeria had the second highest number of deaths from rotavirus, accounting for 14 percent of all childhood rotavirus deaths worldwide.
According to him, rotavirus is one of the leading causes of diarrheal disease in the world and is responsible for over 40 percent of diarrhea in children.
He said the introduction of rotavirus vaccine was a big investment due to its substantial economic impact and the number of lives Nigeria was going to save from it.
He said the vaccine would be given orally and administered concurrently with the existing routine immunization vaccines at six weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks respectively.
Nigeria Country Representative, World Health Organisation, Walter Kazadi Mulombo, said the public health impact of rotavirus vaccine introduction had been demonstrated in several countries with as much as 50 percent deaths from diarrheal diseases averted in some.