THE federal government, Thursday, disclosed that a total of 4,708 out of over 3 million eligible persons vaccinated against COVID-19 experienced moderate to severe sight effects just as it said 13.267 others experienced mild to moderate side effects.
It however appealed to citizens not to be scare and stay away from vaccination, saying cases of mild, moderate, and severe reactions were expected from normal vaccinations.
It disclosed that so far, no death has been recorded in the country as a result of the COVID-19 vaccination.
The government’s explanations came as it extended the second dose of administration of the vaccine to July 5, this year.
The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, stated this at a press conference his agency held to in an update to update Nigerians on the progress of the ongoing federal government’s efforts at tackling COVID-19 in the country.
“So far, after more than three million vaccinations, 13,267 people have experienced mild to moderate side effects, while 4,708 have experienced moderate to severe side effects.
“Cases of mild, moderate, and severe reactions that have been recorded are 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,” he said.
On zero death figure, Dr. Shuaib said: “It is however important for me to repeat that Nigeria has not recorded any case of death directly linked to COVID-19 vaccination.”
Noting that, “We understand the constraints of time arising from our various economic and social engagements and because of that”, he said: “We decided to extend the administration of the second dose of the vaccine until 5th of July 2021.”
While expressing frustration regarding the global vaccine supply, he said: “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.”
He spoke further:”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 reiterated that “the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA is working closely with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC on Adverse Event.
Shuaib, who said: “An App known as MED-SAFETY App was launched, added that “it is available for free on Play store for Android devices and Apple Store for IOS devices. “
“With this App, any individual can report vaccine side effect for him or herself, or on behalf of another person, and will receive a timely response. There are also other pharmacovigilance measures in place to monitor and respond to AEFI cases throughout the country,” he said.
Dr. Shuaib spoke further: “The Federal Government has remained committed to ensuring that every eligible person in Nigeria is vaccinated against COVID-19.
“As of today, June 24th, 2021, our 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.
“You would recall that the government reopened administration of the first dose to address the increase in vaccine demand by people who were yet to be vaccinated at all.
“This increased in a number of clients vaccinated with the first doses.
“Let me further clarify that full vaccination does not exempt people who have received their second doses of the vaccine from observing the infection prevention and control measures.
“It is very important for everyone, including those who have received their second doses to continue to wear face masks and observe other non-pharmaceutical measures to prevent the spread of the virus.”
Recalling that “the initial closing date for second dose administration was 25th of June, 2021”, he said: “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 who said “we continue to receive requests from Nigerians who have taken the first dose of the vaccine outside the Country but want to take the second dose back home”, advised that: “They should walk into the nearest designated health facility to receive the jab. Health workers are hereby requested not to turn them back.”
“Our decision to reopen administration of the first dose is indeed a great opportunity for those who are yet to be vaccinated,” he explained.
He appealed to citizens thus: “Please let us take advantage of this opportunity to get ourselves, our families, and communities protected by going to get your jabs and kindly encourage others who are 18 years and above to do so as well. This set of people should rest assured that by the time they are due for their second doses, we would have received another consignment of the vaccines.”
According to him, “Recently, we are encouraged by the swell of contributions and pledges from major nations into COVAX.”
” Rich nations of the world are showing greatly increased recognition that there must be more supply produced and it must be distributed much more fairly, and they are becoming active in solving this,” he said.
He added: “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.”