By Anthony Isibor
FAISAL Shuaib, executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, has said that only 50 percent of the first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine supplied to Nigeria will be administered.
He said this at the weekly media briefing on the Covid-19 Presidential Steering Committee held on Monday, April 26, 2021.
Although the first phase of the vaccination against COVID-19, which is currently ongoing in all States of the Federation, has yielded substantial results through the combined efforts of health officials and other stakeholders at the National, State, LGA and community levels.
Shuaib, however, revealed that there may be a delay in the supply of the vaccines needed for the other phases of vaccination due to its high demand. He said that this anticipated delay was the reason for instructing the various states to reserve 50 percent to ensure that the country was not stranded in its second phase of vaccination.
“We are aware of the global scarcity of COVID-19 vaccines due to high demand, especially in countries where the vaccines are being produced.
“We, therefore, anticipate a delay in vaccine supply to Nigeria, which may also affect and impact the remaining phases of the vaccination campaign.
‘However, in response to the anticipated delay, the federal government has rationalized the vaccination exercise by preserving 50% of available doses of the vaccine for the administration of the second doses.
“Each State of the Federation, including FCT, is currently administering only 50% of their allocated doses of Vaccines,” he said.
According to him, the remaining 50% will be administered to clients, who had earlier received the first dose and this will be scheduled between 8 – 12 weeks from the date of their first dose.
Shuaib, however, maintained that the government is not relaxing its oars in the search for an alternative vaccine.
“The federal government has signed off to receive up to 29.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine through the African Union, AU.
“We are also expecting deliveries of vaccines through the Covax facility by the end of May or early June 2021.
By this time, we would have completed the process of administering the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to those who got the first dose.
“In the meantime, NAFDAC is continuing discussions with manufacturers and examining their vaccines, in anticipation of Emergency Use Listing from the World Health Organization. We hope that these will mitigate the negative concerns about the delayed deliveries of AstraZeneca vaccines, thereby ensuring the sustained supply of vaccines for smooth continuation of our vaccination exercise,” he said.
He, therefore, encouraged all eligible residents of Nigeria to continue to register for vaccination through the
NPHCDA website, and he guaranteed that every registered person will be scheduled and vaccinated in the coming phases of the exercise accordingly.
Shuaib also reiterated the potency and safety of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and assured that the choice of the vaccine was thoroughly arrived at.
“Let me state from available scientific records and investigations by the World Health Organization, WHO,
and the European Medicines Agency, EMA, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, among others are safe and efficacious.
“Our national regulatory body, NAFDAC has also certified that the vaccine is safe and strongly recommends its continued use for all eligible age groups.
“May I, also, reiterate that we shall continue to collaborate with the NAFDAC Pharmacovigilance team to
monitor the administration of the vaccine and document any adverse reactions following the vaccination with the COVID-19 Vaccine.
“We believe this would further assure Nigerians that the government has made a safe choice of vaccine for protecting our people against COVID -19,” he said.
He further revealed that as of April 26, 2021, 1,173, 869 Nigerians, representing 58.3 % of the eligible persons targeted in this current phase, have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine with 8,711 reported cases of mild AEFIs, and 52 instances of moderate to severe AEFIs.
He, therefore, urged the press to continue to prioritize the sensitization and education of the general public on the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine through your media for the attainment of success in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign and other public health interventions.
– April 29, 2021 @ 16:49 GMT