The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, has said more than 10,000 Nigerians have reported various degrees of side effects after they received their first doses of the vaccination against the coronavirus infection.
Mr Shuaib, who said this while speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, added the side effects include pain and swelling at the site of vaccination.
He added that more serious symptoms such as headaches, abdominal pain, fever, dizziness and allergic reactions have also been reported.
“A total of 10,027 cases of mild Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) have been reported as of May 30th, while 86 cases of moderate to severe incidents have been reported,” he said.
He, however, said all these individuals have since fully recovered.
According to him, five states have the highest records of AEFI as Cross River leads the chart with 1,040 while Kaduna reported 1,071 and Lagos, 796.
Mr Shuaib said in Yobe State, 555 cases were reported and 525 in Kebbi State.
Vaccination so far
Mr Shuaib said 1,956,598 of the targeted eligible Nigerians have so far received their first dose of the Oxford-Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
He said out of the above-stated number, 66 per cent are frontline workers, 22 per cent are healthcare workers, while 12 per cent belong to the elderly group.
He also said 73,465 Nigerians, including the president and the vice president, have received their second dose of the vaccine across 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Nigeria commenced vaccination of its citizens against COVID-19 on March 5, beginning with healthcare workers.
Healthcare workers are often at risk of exposure to infections, including COVID-19, as they are the first responders to patients.
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.
The vaccination exercise will be done in four phases, according to the NPHCDA boss.
Special vaccination sites
Meanwhile, as part of efforts to ease the vaccination process for the people, the NPHCDA boss also announced the establishment of some special COVID-19 vaccination sites for administering the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.
He said the special sites would accommodate those who cannot access states or facilities where they received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Mr Shuaib said; “We acknowledge the possibility of some people relocating from the states where they took their first doses.
“For this reason, we have made provision for special vaccination sites that could accommodate administering their second doses.”
He noted that some of the previous COVID-19 vaccination sites may be unavailable due to some circumstances.
Mr Shuaib appealed to Nigerians to visit the NPHCDA website (www.nphcda.gov.ng) to locate vaccination posts close to them for their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
In his remarks, a representative of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Ganga Gupta, commended the immunisation agency and its leadership for the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive.
Mr Gupta said the challenge faced in the administration of the vaccine would be reaching out to citizens to go and receive their second doses.
“All those who have received the first dose should please go back for their second dose because if you don’t you should know that you are not fully protected,” he said.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative in Nigeria, Walter Mulombo, also commended Nigeria’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy.
Mr Mulombo said that other African countries are already looking up to Nigeria to learn how to roll out their vaccinations.
While lamenting that the African continent has received less than its share of vaccines from the COVAX facility, he stressed on the importance of the vaccines in ending the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said; “Even though Africa is lagging behind, Nigeria is among the countries that is distributing the most COVID-19 vaccines.
“We know that in terms of volume, we still have a long way to go because we have planned to vaccinate more than 100 million of our population, but it’s already a good learning base on how we can effectively roll out the COVID-19 vaccination.”
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