Prof Akin Abayomi
Prof Akin Abayomi, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, has raised the alarm that the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic may be imminent in Nigeria by December.
Abayomi, at a news briefing on Friday, said passengers coming into the country from high-burden countries might increase the spread of the virus.
He said, “Many Nigerians staying abroad will be returning home to celebrate Christmas with their families. Most of these people will be coming from countries where there is a heavy burden of COVID-19 and where we know the virus is changing and mutating.
“The potential drivers of a fourth wave in Lagos and Nigeria are passengers arriving, especially from heavy-burdened countries in Europe and the United States into Lagos. About 86 per cent of all inbound flights into Nigeria come through Lagos.
“It is only inevitable that if passengers are travelling in large numbers from these countries where they are about to experience the fourth and fifth wave, we should expect some activities in Lagos as a result of these movements. At the current rate of the response across the country, we are likely going to encounter a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in December 2021.”
The commissioner lamented the low vaccination rate in Nigeria, saying many countries had vaccinated more than 50 per cent of their eligible populations.
He stated, “The other problem we have in Lagos and Nigeria is that our rate of vaccination has been quite low; it is just below three per cent, whereas our target should be over 40 per cent. Many countries around the world have exceeded 50 per cent vaccination of the eligible population.
“At the current rate of the response across the country, we are likely going to encounter a fourth wave of the COVID19 pandemic in December 2021. Lagos State has only vaccinated about 2.6 per cent of its population, leaving it susceptible to a fourth wave.”
He explained that fully vaccinated persons with a vaccine breakthrough infection were less likely to develop serious illness and get COVID-19 than the unvaccinated.