The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has said that since the country commenced its COVID-19 vaccination, no Nigerian has observed any adverse reaction, noting that all side effects reported by those who have taken the jab have been mild.
Dr Faisal Shuaib, executive director, NPHCDA, said this in a statement he made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
“We are aware of precautionary concerns that have been raised regarding one specific batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine, namely ABV5300.
“We understand that investigations are being conducted to determine if the batch is in any way linked to an observed side effect.
“While we await the outcome of the investigations, it is important to clearly state that Nigeria did not receive any doses from the batch of vaccines with issues”, Shuaib noted.
Shuaib said that the government is satisfied that the clinical evidence indicates that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective.
“Our assessment is in line with countries such as Spain and the UK who have indicated that they will continue to administer the vaccine, because it remains an important tool to protect against COVID-19.
“The safety of vaccines delivered to Nigeria is paramount to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19. For this reason, it has enhanced multi-sectoral collaboration among stakeholders and technical entities such as the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), NPHCDA, NAFDAC, the WHO and UNICEF whose cooperation ensures the highest global standards are met for vaccines delivered to Nigeria before they are distributed to Nigerians. Clear, rigorous protocols are being followed to safeguard the health of Nigerians,” he stated.
According to him, “We are continuing to monitor the developments regarding ABV5300 batch and will share further information as it becomes available.
“The NPHCDA boss encouraged Nigerians who were among those being prioritised in the current phase to continue their confidence and enthusiasm for the vitally important national vaccine programme, saying “Together, we can save lives”.
NAN reports that Nigeria, on March 2, took delivery of nearly four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as part of an overall 16 million doses planned to be delivered to the country in batches over the next few months. The vaccines are being provided by COVAX, an unprecedented global effort to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Upon arrival, samples were handed to NAFDAC, the Nigerian food and drug regulatory agency, for further examination.
Nigeria on Friday commenced the vaccination, beginning with healthcare workers who are often at the risk of exposure to infections being the first responders to patients.
Dr Cyprian Ngong, a medical doctor, became the first person to receive the jab in Nigeria. Three other health workers were also vaccinated during the launch at the National Hospital in Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo also received jabs of the COVID-19 vaccines to drive vaccine acceptance.
Members of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on Monday received jabs of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines during its weekly National briefing.
The PTF team includes the Chairman, Boss Mustapha, Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire; Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Environment, Muhammad Mahmood; Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora; Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu; Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeoma, and the National Incident Manager (NIM) PTF, Mukhtar Muhammad, among others. (NAN)