COVID-19 Vaccination: Effective Distribution Depends on Nurse Leaders, Says ICN

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COVID-19 Vaccination: Effective Distribution Depends on Nurse Leaders, Says ICN
A girl receiving vaccination
For the proposed 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine to be equitably administered among the world’s population, the use of nurse leaders for the coordination of the mass vaccination exercise is indispensable, the International Council of Nurses, ICN, has said.

The ICN made the remarks recently calling on governments across the globe to invest and capacitate healthcare workforce, especially the 27 million nurses, who have been stretched to breaking point by the pandemic.

While the news of the third phase of large vaccine study was heartily received by the apex nursing body, it stated that only experienced nurses are capable of tackling the obstacles to the success of the mass vaccination programme.

This comes as the 2020 World Diabetes Day centred on nurses role in diabetes, with the theme, “Diabetes: nurses make the difference”. Speaking on the theme, President, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, NANNM, Com. Abdurafiu Adeniji said the nurse plays a vital role, in the management of diabetes, based on the three bound roles of independent, interdependent and dependent duties and responsibilities. The nurse plays very important roles in case definition and collaborates with other healthcare team members to address the health need of a patient with DM.

He hinted that with the spread and accessibilities of nurses, they are often the only professional that the patient sees first. The masses, as individuals, families, groups and communities should be counselled and educated to live healthily and utilise nutrition, physical exercises, adequate rest, and avoidance of unhealthy life patterns to enhance healthiness. The unhealthy habits of late night diners, abuse of certain substances like hard drugs, alcohol and cigarette – all these are still under the core competences of professional nurses.

The nurses’ president emphasized the need to educate, mobilise and assist the masses in doing regular checks in health institutions and that he said is one of the responsibilities of professional nurses.

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In a statement obtained by Phamanewsonline, ICN Chief Executive Officer, Howard Catton said: “It is great news that a vaccination may soon be available: it gives hope to billions of people that the nightmare of this pandemic will be brought under control. But a successful vaccination programme is so much more than just a quick jab in the arm, and the huge and unprecedented task of vaccinating the people of the world is the public health equivalent of landing someone on the moon.

“Health organisations and governments must recognise the scale of this task and do whatever it takes to ensure their staff have the support they need, and one way to ensure that happens is to have senior nurse leaders in the management teams controlling the vaccination response in every county, right up to government level”.

He reiterated the indispensable functions of nurses in the effective delivery of vaccination around the world, saying vaccination programmes on this scale require the input of nurse leaders from the outset to ensure they are properly planned, managed and monitored, and that they provide equitable and effective outcomes.

The organisation highlighted reasons for capable nurse leaders to coordinate the mass vaccination to include: A lack of trust and confidence in vaccines among some members of the public; accessing hard to reach groups; socioeconomic factors preventing some people from accessing immunisation services; the fact that some jurisdictions are not enabling nurses to work autonomously and to their full scope of practice and the need to provide holistic care, rather than just vaccine clinics.

Catton further stated that ‘The majority of staff administering the vaccines and giving advice will be nurses, but they are already hugely overstretched by the demands of the second wave of the virus, and by their levels of infection and illness, which remain worryingly high. ICN data and recent research reported in the British Medical Journal show the high risk of patient-facing healthcare staff to COVID-19: they must be prioritised for the vaccine so they can be in a position to deliver on the promise of the vaccine and in order to protect the health systems in which they work.”

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“ICN has no doubt that nurses and their healthcare worker colleagues are committed to carrying out the vaccination process with the same courage and commitment that they have shown throughout the entire pandemic. It is up to governments to make sure they have the support they need to complete the task”, he stated.

ICN is a federation of more than 130 national nurses’associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide. Operated by nurses and leading nursing internationally, ICN works to ensure quality care for all and sound health policies globally.

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