About 26 days after Nigeria commenced vaccination of its citizens against the COVID-19 virus, over 700,000 people have received the first dose of the vaccine.
As of Wednesday evening, 718,412 eligible Nigerians have been vaccinated, according to an update by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
Nigeria commenced COVID-19 vaccination in early March, having received 3.94 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX facility.
The vaccination started with healthcare workers who are often at the risk of exposure to infections being the first responders to patients.
The country recently received another 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from telecom giant, MTN, as part of the latter’s contribution to Africa.
COVID-19 vaccination has since commenced in all states across the country except for Kogi which is yet to receive doses for the vaccines.
Kogi, which has reported only five cases since the onset of the pandemic, was not supplied with doses of the vaccines.
“This is because their cold store is still under repairs following vandalisation during the EndSARS protest,” the NPHCDA head Faisal Shuaib, said at a briefing.
The agency in a tweet on Monday said Mr Shuaib met with Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, to resolve issues around vaccine storage and provision of security at the Cold Store.
According to the Wednesday update, Lagos, the epicentre of the disease in Nigeria, has vaccinated 136,356 people; making it the highest in the country.
This is followed by Ogun with 50,870, Kaduna- 46,474, Katsina- 37,819, Bauchi- 33,368 and Kano- 33,258.
The states with the lowest number of vaccinated people are Abia- 697 and Taraba with 1,568 people vaccinated so far
The Nigerian government had announced its plan to vaccinate 109 million people against the COVID-19 virus over a period of two years.
Health authorities said only eligible population from 18 years and above will be vaccinated.
To achieve this, “the vaccine roll-out will be in four phases, starting with health workers, frontline workers, COVID-19 rapid response team, laboratory network, policemen, petrol station workers and strategic leaders,” Mr Shuaib said at a recent briefing.
“Phase 2 – Older adults aged 50 years and above. Those with co-morbidities aged 18 – 49 years of age
“Phase 3 – Those in states/LGAs with high disease burden and who missed phases 1 and 2.
“Phase 4 – Other eligible population as vaccines become available.”
Although there has been controversy over the safety of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines which prompted some countries to suspend its use, Nigeria has chosen to continue the rollout of the vaccines, saying it is safe for use.
The World Health Organisation and European Medicines Agency (EMA) have also declared the vaccine safe.
The Nigerian government also said it has yet to record any serious side effect from taking the vaccine.
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