The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines to be received by Nigeria will be administered to Nigerians at no cost (free of charges) and in four phases, an official has said.
This was disclosed by the Director, Infectious Disease Control and Immunisation at the Nigeria Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Bassey Okposen, on Saturday, during a Channels TV Sunrise Daily show.
Nigeria is expecting about 100,000 free COVID-19 vaccines by the end of January as part of a COVAX arrangement put in place by the World Health Organisation and its partners.
Mr Okposen said vaccination will only begin after the vaccines must have gotten proper certification from the drug regulatory agency, NAFDAC.
He said there were lots of efforts to make sure that when the vaccines come in, ‘accountability’ would be the watchword.
In each of the sites across the country where the vaccinations would be taking place, he said, “We have security operatives and health workers, monitors from funders and government staff on ground to make sure that the vaccines are given free to Nigerians and they’re not diverted.”
When asked about how people would be monitored after being administered the vaccines so as to monitor progress, Mr Okposen said a follow up plan was in place at every site where vaccinations would be taking place.
“At each of the vaccination centres, they would be an active surveillance site ongoing, and there is a follow up plan on what people would do at the point of vaccination and after being vaccinated.”
For post-vaccination, he said there were also plans in place to ensure that the vaccinated Nigerians are followed up for possible complaints that might come from them.
However, he said the Nigerian team was keenly watching and tracking happenings in countries where vaccination is already taking place.
Duration of vaccine administration
He said the 100,000 vaccine dosages Nigeria is expecting, after they are certified by NAFDAC, would be administered in four phases.
“First phase would be administered in Quarter 1(Q1), the second phase would be in Q2, third phase in Q3 and fourth phase would be in Q4,” he said.
He said within the duration of phases 1-3, after administration, Nigerians on their own would be able to speak up on the effectiveness of the vaccine and the vaccination process so far.
The official said they were aware of so many Nigerians who had travelled out to receive the vaccines on their own and that the communication team is already putting together a documentary on that.
“We promise Nigerians that the vaccines to be used are safe, and they would be a follow up for possibilities and at the end of it all, we would be able to give full accountability to Nigerians,” he said.
Dosages to be administered
Speaking about the dosages to be administered and intervals, he said for the 100,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine the country is expecting, the manufacturer’s guideline is that the second dose would be administered to a recipient 21 days after the first dose.
He said apart from the Pfizer vaccine that would be administered as mentioned, other alternative vaccines would be coming in during subsequent phases of administration.
“The government target is to immunize 70 per cent of Nigerians, between this year and 2022 and that translate to 149.6 million Nigerians,” Mr Okposen said.
“So we would have vaccines that would be coming from different companies that would pass through the NAFDAC test before given to Nigerians. And the interval between the first and the second doses would depend on the manufacturer’s instructions.”
When would Nigerians get the vaccines?
When asked how soon Nigerians would get the vaccines, the NAFDAC director-general, Mojisola Adeyeye, said as soon as NAFDAC receives the dossier from the manufacturing company, it would not take more than a week to get it reviewed, because they would be relying on what others have done before.
“When that is done, we will also have another external body to quickly go through what we’ve done in NAFDAC ” she said.
She said the review process should not take more that seven working days, after which the vaccine can come into the country.
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