After securing the approval of the National Agency for Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 has announced that the second phase vaccination against the rampaging virus will commence on Tuesday.
The decision was, on Saturday, conveyed in a statement issued by the director of press at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Willie Bassey.
The SGF, Boss Mustapha, doubles as the chairman of the PSC.
The statement reads in part; “The PSC has received over four million doses of Moderna vaccine donated by the U.S. government to Nigeria.
“In view of the above, the inoculation is scheduled from Tuesday, August 10, at the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja.”
The vaccines were donated by the United States government to Nigeria and delivered through the COVAX facility on August 2, 2021.
COVAX is a United Nations-backed effort that promises access to vaccines for up to 20 per cent of participating countries’ populations.
The President of the U.S., Joe Biden, had in May pledged to share 80 million vaccines with countries around the world to protect the most vulnerable. Of these 80 million, Africa is expected to receive 25 million.
First batch inoculation.
Nigeria had commenced COVID-19 vaccination on March 5, 2021, having received approximately four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX.
To achieve herd immunity against the infection, 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.
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,” the head of Nigeria’s immunisation agency, Faisal Shuaib, had said.
He said the second phase would capture older adults aged 50 years and above and those with comorbidities aged between 18 and 49 years of age.
He said; “Phase 3– Those in states/LGAs with high disease burden and who missed phases 1 and 2, and Phase 4 will include other eligible populations as vaccines become available.”
Vaccination so far
The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is given in double doses. A person is required to come back for a second shot, some weeks after taking the first jab
The four million doses of vaccines received in March led to the successful vaccination of 3,938,945 eligible persons across 36 states and FCT, representing 98 per cent utilisation of the vaccines, Mr Shuaib said.
He said 2,534,205 people have been vaccinated for the first dose and 1,404,205 have received their second dose of the vaccine.
Following the exhaustion of these doses, the Nigerian government announced the close of vaccination of the first batch.
However, with the delivery of the Moderna vaccines, Nigeria has said it will commence the second batch inoculation which includes older adults of 50 years and above.
While responding to questions on whether those who took the first dose of the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccines could take from the Moderna types just received, Mr. Shuaib said; “That is not the recommendation of the WHO and that is not what we are going to be doing in Nigeria.
“For those who have taken the first dose of Astrazeneca, we are expecting in a week or so additional consignment of Astrazeneca vaccines that we will give as second doses.”
He added that the country is expecting about 700,000 doses in the coming week and another 3.9 million doses by mid-August.
Moderna is an mRNA vaccine, using the same technology as the Pfizer-BioNTech one and with similarly high efficacy at preventing symptomatic disease.
The Moderna vaccine can be shipped and kept in long-term storage in standard freezer temperatures, and stored for up to 30 days using normal refrigeration, making it easier to distribute and store. Also, the Moderna vaccine was slightly less effective in clinical trials—about 86%—in people who are 65 and older.
The Moderna vaccine has been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and approved by NAFDAC as safe and effective based on data from large-scale clinical trials.
Just like AstraZeneca, two shots of the Moderna vaccines are administered through intramuscular injection about 28 days apart.
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