COVAX vaccine consignment expected from July – FG

The Federal Government Tuesday disclosed that the country will expect its covid-19 vaccine consignment from COVAX between July and September this year.

It explained that although no exact date of delivery has been communicated, bilateral conversations are ongoing to see how the country can access the surplus vaccines being stockpiled by developed countries.

It further disclosed that as of 1st of June, 2021, 1,956,598 of targeted eligible Nigerians have been vaccinated with their first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, while 73,465 Nigerians have also received their second dose across 36 states and the FCT.

The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, made these known in Abuja, during a joint press briefing on COVID-19 vaccination update of the Agency, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

He said: “I will begin with an update on our vaccination efforts. As of today, 1,956,598 of targeted eligible Nigerians have been vaccinated with their first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Of this number, 66 percent are frontline workers, 22 percent are healthcare workers, while 12 percent belong to the elderly group.

“Furthermore, 73,465 Nigerians have also received their 2nd dose across 36 states and the FCT. This includes His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who both received their second doses on Saturday, May 29. Similarly, you would have seen that in many States, the Governors, members of the legislature, traditional and religious leaders have publicly started taking the second dose of their vaccinations. Only yesterday, members of the Presidential Steering Committee including myself received our second doses of the vaccine. I can assure you that we are all doing well. Indeed, on my part, the side effects following the second dose were much less than the first dose.

“We continue to advise that all Nigerians who have received their first dose should check their vaccination cards for the date of their second dose, and proceed to the same health facility where they got their first jab, to ensure full protection against COVID-19.

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“There have been cases of mild, moderate and severe Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) since we officially rolled out Covid-19 vaccination on March 15, 2021. The AEFls symptoms ranged from pain and swelling at site of vaccination to more serious symptoms such as headaches, abdominal pain, fever, dizziness and allergic reactions.

“A total of 10,027 cases of mild AEFI have been reported as of May 30th, while 86 cases of moderate to severe incidents have been reported. All these individuals have since fully recovered. Five States have the highest records of AEF! namely: Cross River (1,040), Kaduna (1,071), Lagos (796), Yobe (555), and Kebbi with 525 cases.

“We acknowledge the possibility of some people relocating from the States where they took their first doses. For this reason, we have made provision for special vaccination sites that could accommodate administering their second doses. It is also possible that due to certain circumstances, some of the sites used for the first dose vaccination may no longer be available; in this case, you are kindly advised to go for your second dose at the nearest vaccination post. The list of the vaccination sites is available on our website (www.nphcda.gov.ng), which we will keep updating and will also be published accordingly. Please bear with us while we try to make the vaccination process as seamless as possible.”

Concerning the delivery of the next COVID-19 vaccine consignment through COVAX, Shuaib said: “On the global vaccine supply and anticipated next consignment, the Covax facility has communicated that the upcoming allocation is likely from July-September 2021. The exact dates are still being finalized. Nevertheless, bilateral conversations are ongoing to see how we can access the surplus vaccines being stockpiled by developed countries.

“On this, we are working closely with the Embassies and High Commissions in Nigeria. Our communication remains clear that the allocation of vaccines from friendly countries is most useful now, not later when vaccines become widely available.

“While we are pushing for equity, justice and fair play in the global allocation of vaccines, the Federal Ministry of health is working with critical stakeholders to fast track the establishment of local vaccine production plants in Nigeria. This initiative will be seizing on the environment created by the lopsided availability of vaccines, momentum around intellectual property waivers and health security imperatives that vaccines represent.

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“I would like to mention that GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance through UNICEF and in partnership with NCDC and NPHCDA have donated $8 million worth of PPE to be used by primary health care workers across all 36 States and the FCT. These PPEs are already on their way to the sub-national level, courtesy of UNICEF. We thank our partners and value their continued partnership in supporting our frontline health workers.

“Finally, I want to encourage all Nigerians to remain vigilant. Each and every one of us must follow social distancing; mask wearing, and curfew guidelines. Significant concern remains about the threat posed by the Coronavirus B.1.617.2 variant, also known as the Indian variant, which is observed to be a highly contagious mutant strain of the coronavirus. In England, cases of the variant have doubled in one week alone. It is very important that we take all the necessary precautions set out by the Government to prevent an uncontrolled outbreak here in Nigeria.”

The UNICEF Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, who was represented by Dr Gupta, while commending the Federal Government’s efforts on the administration of the first dose of the covid-19 vaccine, also urged all Nigerians to ensure that they take the second dose of the vaccine, as it is the only way to be fully protected against the disease.

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