- The administration of the second dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Nigerians have been extended
- An extension of the administration of the vaccine was announced by the executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency
- According to Dr Faisal Shauib, there is an increase in the population of those who needed to take their second dose
Abuja, FCT - To ensure that many Nigerians who have received their first shot of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine complete their doses and stay protected from Coronavirus, the Federal Government has extended the timeline for the administering of the second dose of the vaccine.
At a press briefing attended by Legit.ng on Thursday, June 24, the executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, said the administration of the vaccine scheduled to end on June 25 has been extended to July 5.
Shuaib said the FG remains committed to ensuring that every eligible person in Nigeria is vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We understand the constraints of time arising from our various economic and social engagements and because of that, we decided to extend the administration of second dose of the vaccine until 5th of July 2021.”
“Even though we have extended the timeline for the second dose administration until 5th of July 2021, however those who have received their first dose no later than May 13th are advised to visit the nearest vaccination site to receive their second dose as soon as possible, for full protection against COVID-19.”
Shuaib said that data shows that 2,099,568 people have been vaccinated with their first doses while 1,005,234 have received their second doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
According to him, the re-opening of the administration of the first dose of the vaccine resulted in an increase in the number of people vaccinated with the first doses.
While encouraging those who are fully vaccinated to continue to adhere to the guidelines slated for prevention of the spread of COVID-19, Shuaib warned that receiving the second dose of the vaccine does not exempt any individual from wearing face masks and maintaining physical distancing.
Vaccine Supply Across Nations
Also calling on every Nigerian to take advantage of the window opportunity to encourage their families and community members who are 18-years and above to get vaccinated, Shuaib said the country is faced with the challenge of global vaccine supply.
“Not only have there been huge challenges with respect to vaccine manufacturers producing enough vaccines for the world but there also has been great inequity in terms of distribution. Most countries of the world have received few, and in some cases no, vaccines.
“This is a problem that needs to be solved urgently and we are communicating this very clearly to our international partners on behalf of Nigerians.”
He said the Federal Government is encouraged by the swell of contributions and pledges from major nations into COVAX as rich nations of the world are showing increased recognition that there must be more supply and fair distribution of vaccines produced.
“Just a few days ago, the U.S. White House reconfirmed it will send an initial 80 million doses internationally by the end of this month, with additional shipments continuing to ramp up thereafter.”
“These supplies and other large donations of vaccines to COVAX that are now planned will enable COVAX to supply new consignments to Nigeria and other nations who need vaccines now.”
Adverse Reactions to COVID-19 Vaccines So far
In what appears to be encouraging news, Shuaib said no death has been directly recorded following the administration of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to clients in Nigeria.
He said that the agency has only recorded cases of mild, moderate and severe reactions as expected from normal vaccination, and people who experienced any of these have since recovered and are doing well.
“Therefore, we should not allow the fear of side effects to discourage us from taking the vaccine, as the long-term benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risk of brief side effects."
A representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi, said the threat of a third wave of COVID-19 was real and was raising in some African countries.
“It’s actually more dangerous than ever not because of people that are unvaccinated.
“It's because people are not protecting themselves. People are not avoiding crowded places. People are not engaging in protective measures via social distancing not wearing face masks when they need to."
Kadazi advised that Nigerians should take the preventive measures seriously that vaccines are just an addition.
He noted that rapid scale-up of vaccines and improvement in supply mechanisms was crucial.
Also speaking earlier, a representative of UNICEF in Nigeria, Dr Peter Hawkins, said some countries have started the COVID-19 vaccination for children, but, Nigeria was not yet at that stage.
Hawkins, who was represented by Dr Gupta Gagan said that Nigeria would be needing more evidence and more knowledge.
“In the subsequent stages that decision will be discussed and deliberated and evidence-based decision.
“Every country, the decision is taken by the National Technical Advisory Group, based on the evidence, the safety, efficacy, and the local data too."
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that an activist and the chief executive officer of Connected Development, Hamzat Lawal had called for a probe into the fund earmarked for COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Lawal said it is important the National Assembly convenes a public hearing to showcase to Nigerians how the COVID-19 funds were used in the country.
The activist said his organisation tracked N97 billion COVID-19 funds earmarked for various improvement of various social challenges including health, emergency procurement among others at the state at the federal level.
Also, the director-general of the World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, announced that four countries in Africa have been considered as vaccine production hubs.
Okonjo-Iweala said facilities would be established in Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda and Senegal for the purpose of production of vaccines to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
She said that these countries would serve as the regional vaccine production hubs with open supply chains that would enable a path to preparedness for any future health emergency crisis.