The Federal Government has revealed that Nigeria will have adequate vaccines for over 50 pr cent of the nation’s eligible population by the end of the first quarter of 2022, based on delivery forecasts from the COVAX facility and the African Union.
The executive director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, made this known at a media briefing on the COVID-19 vaccination update yesterday in Abuja.
Recall that Nigeria received 501,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines donated by the government of France through the COVAX facility on October 4, 2021, in addition to 434,400 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on October 7, 2021. Nigeria is expecting more supplies of vaccines in the coming days via the COVAX facility and the African Union.
Shuaib said a total of 5,246,523 eligible citizens – which represents 4.7 per cent of the nation’s population – have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria as at October 14, 2021, bringing the total number of those who have received the vaccine to 2,546,094 – 2.3 per cent of the nation’s target population.
As Nigeria embarks on intensive vaccination via vaccination sites across the country, Shuaib said the objective is to vaccinate a huge percentage of the populace via large avenues, such as Federal institutions (universities, polytechnics), shopping malls, religious centers, sporting events, conference centers, and markets etc.
“This will require strong collaboration between NPHCDA, state governments, religious bodies, school authorities and governing bodies of malls and large sporting events. As we expand the vaccination sites, we encourage all eligible Nigerians to avail themselves for vaccination. I am also glad to inform you that we have commenced the process of decentralising COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria, to include private health care providers. This is to expand access and increase utilization of the vaccines,” he said.
The NPHCDA boss explained that the decentralization will not affect the Federal Government’s free vaccination policy, emphasizing that the COVID-19 vaccines will be administered free at both government and private health facilities and the vaccination cards should be given free of charge after vaccination.
He also highlighted a recent study by the agency carried out in six states – Anambra, Borno, Edo, Katsina, Lagos and Plateau – to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in enrolled adult individuals 18 years and above who have received the authorized COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria for the purpose of safety signal detection.
This study, led by Prof. Akin Osibogun, a professor of community medicine at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, sought to estimate the incidence of adverse events following immunization with different brands of the COVID-19 vaccine in all enrolled immunized subjects.
“The findings suggest that, from the perspective of public communication, the vaccine is quite safe and the reported symptoms are mild and can be expected within the first three days following vaccination. Older vaccinees are to be particularly counselled as to what to expect and not to panic, as the symptoms are mild and time-limited. During this study, there was no report of vaccine-induced COVID-19 or deaths related to the vaccines,” he added.