One month after Nigeria officially began the COVID-19 vaccination, the nation has not recorded any death from the immunisation process, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has said.
This is even as the agency announced that over a million Nigerians have been administered the first dose of the Astrazeneca vaccine.
Meanwhile, Nigeria has reviewed the eligibility period between the first and second doses of first and second doses of the vaccine from 12 weeks to between 8 to 12 weeks.
This is still in line with the scientific recommendation provided by the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE on immunization) that the two doses of the vaccine be given at an interval of 8 to 12 weeks.
Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaibu, who made these disclosures at a briefing on Friday in Abuja, explained that there is currently a global shortfall of COVID-19 vaccines largely due to the manufacturers not meeting their projected targets adding that we are also witnesses to vaccine nationalism that has led Covid-19 vaccine producing countries to restrict exportation and protect vaccines for their citizens.
Shuaib observed that these developments have now necessitated that the country reassess its vaccine supply forecasts and take the decision to ensure that everyone who has taken the vaccine in the current phase gets the second dose before the next consignment is delivered to Nigeria.
The NPHCDA boss however said that about 8,439 Nigerians experienced mild adverse effects after they took the vaccine.
He added that 52 cases of moderate to severe incidents of Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) were reported.
According to Shuaibu, the mild side effects reported ranges from pain, swelling at the site of the inoculation, to
body pains and nausea, adding that moderate to severe incidents were presented as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness and allergic reactions.
Shuaibu observed that five states have the highest records of the AEFI. They are Kaduna, 970, Cross River 859, Yobe 541, Kebbi 511, and Lagos, 448.
He said unlike what was reported in some countries, Nigeria was yet to diagnose any case of blood clots related to the administration of the vaccines.
While insisting that AstraZeneca vaccine administered to Nigerians is safe and effective against COVID-19, Shuaibu announced the expansion of the eligibility period between the first and second doses of the vaccine from 12 weeks to between 8 to 12 weeks.
Furthermore, as a result of this overall program review to meet the challenges of global vaccine demand and supply mismatch, and the late commencement of the vaccination in some States, we are expanding the eligibility period between the first and second doses of the vaccine from 12 weeks to between 8 to 12 weeks.
This is still in line with the scientific recommendation provided by the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE on immunization) that the two doses of the vaccine be given at an interval of 8 to 12 weeks.”.
He, however, explained that the agency was working with National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC) and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to set up a more active surveillance system built on its experience with polio surveillance.
Country Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi Molumbo, assured Nigerians of the vaccine safety.
Molumbo said the world body would intensify pressure on countries hoarding vaccines to ensure equitable distribution of the vaccines.