An additional 18,917 persons received their first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday, taking the total number of vaccinated people in the country to 1,133,325.
This is according to an update by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
“As of today, April 21, 1, 133, 325 eligible Nigerians have so far been vaccinated with first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine,” the agency tweeted.
According to the update, Lagos, the epicentre of the disease in Nigeria, tops the chart with 218,174 persons already vaccinated.
This is followed by Kano with 59,040 persons vaccinated, Kaduna – 58, 026, Ogun – 53,314 and the FCT with 52,348 vaccinated persons
Having received 3.94 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines in early March, Nigeria commenced vaccination beginning with healthcare workers.
The country received another 300,000 doses of the Astrazeneca vaccine from telecom giant MTN and additional 100,000 doses of Covishield COVID-19 vaccines from the Indian government.
The Covishield is a brand of the Astrazeneca vaccine.
The current phase of vaccination covers health workers and other frontline workers although Nigerians from other groups are also getting vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the head of NPHCDA, Faisal Shuaib, said the inoculation of frontline health workers in some states has been completed, and attention has shifted to older adults, aged 65 and above.
“We have been careful to ensure that only those who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the current phase are being vaccinated.
“These include health workers and their support staff, other frontline workers, strategic leaders and in the last few days, we have also included those who meet the age requirements,” he said.
To achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, Nigeria had set an ambitious goal of vaccinating 40 per cent of its over 200 million population before the end of 2021, and 70 per cent by the end of 2022.
“About 70 per cent of the total population needs to receive the COVID-19 vaccines to completely eradicate the virus,” Mr Shuaib said in January.
He said about 40 per cent will be vaccinated in 2021, while the remaining 30 per cent will be covered in 2022.
With only about 4.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines available in the country, health experts say Nigeria may not meet its set target.
Due to the limited doses of vaccine available, the Nigerian government directed states to halt vaccination once they use half of the doses allocated to them.
“We believe that in a situation where, we still cannot specifically determine when the next batch of AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive, then I think wisdom only dictates that it is better for us to vaccinate people fully,” the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, had said.
Although there has been controversy over the safety of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Mr Shuaib said no Nigerian has developed any severe side effects from its use.
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