Nigeria has said the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines will soon be administered on eligible men and women who received the first shots..
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, made this known at the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 briefing, on Monday.
Mr Shuaib said the commencement of the second dose of the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccination in all states of the federation and the FCT has been approved by the PSC.
“Already, the Presidential Steering Committee has approved the commencement of the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccination in all states of the federation, including FCT,” he said, adding that “In both technical and operational terms, the Committee has been very supportive of the states.”
Mr Shuaib said senior supervisors have been redeployed to monitor activities in the states with daily evening review meetings to determine the status of the COVID-19 vaccine implementation across all the states and the FCT.
“These meetings, as I had mentioned during our last briefing, allow us to receive reports from the sub-national level on how the campaigns are proceeding, what challenges they face, and how we can proactively anticipate and resolve any impending challenges,” Mr Shuaib said.
He said the meetings also provide an avenue to troubleshoot and resolve any operational hurdles as they emerge before they become problematic.
Mr Shuaib appealed to the public to continue to cooperate with vaccinators whom, he noted, are providing an incredibly important service to the nation amid this global crisis.
He said the government would ensure that only safe and efficacious vaccines were supplied for all phases of the vaccination campaign in the country.
“In addition to health workers, frontline workers aged 18 years and above and persons aged 50 years and above are advised to visit any designated vaccination site to receive the vaccine free of charge.
“We also advise that people who have received their first dose should check their vaccination cards for the date of their second dose, and ensure that they receive the second dose to gain full protection against COVID-19,” he said.
He reiterated that the eligibility period between the first and second doses of the vaccine has been expanded from 12 weeks to between six to 12 weeks.
“This is in line with the scientific recommendation provided by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE on immunization),” he said.
Having received 3.94 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines in March, Nigeria commenced vaccination beginning with healthcare workers.
The country has, so far, received about 4.4 million doses of the vaccine.
The Nigerian government had said it plans 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 in four phases.
The current phase of vaccination covers health workers and other frontline workers although Nigerians from other groups are also getting vaccinated.
Mr Shuaib had at a briefing said the inoculation of frontline health workers in some states has been completed, and attention has shifted to older adults, aged 65 and above.
He said; “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 as of Monday, a total of1,690,719 representing 84 per cent of the eligible persons targeted with the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine, have been administered with their first dose in the vaccination phase.
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