Soldiers will administer vaccine shots to persons living in security compromised areas, the Federal Government has said.
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) and inmates are being prioritised to receive the vaccine because they are more vulnerable and less likely to get immunised.
Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, made these known during a virtual briefing organised by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC).
He said: “What we are doing in Nigeria is really learning from what was successful with the polio eradication programme. In 2020, Nigeria was declared wild poliovirus free.
“One of the reasons we had a delay in eradicating the virus was because of the Boko Haram insurgency and the insecurity in the North East.
“This made it difficult for health workers to access some settlements, and in some instances it was difficult to reach large communities.
“We learnt our lesson from the polio eradication programme. In our planning for these security compromised areas, we engaged the military just like we did with polio.
“With the polio eradication program, those areas that we could access, health workers and civilians were free to go and access the communities and ensure a comprehensive package of health services.
“We did not go there with just polio vaccines, we went there with additional health services such as providing malaria treatment and nutritional interventions.
“In those areas where due to insecurity, civilians and health workers will not go, we actually had military officers drop oral polio vaccines in the mouth of children in areas that are insecure. In the same vein, we have also mapped out strategies to make sure that the Military supports the vaccination of people in security compromised areas.”