After an abrupt postponement announced on Sunday night, the Nigerian government has said the second phase vaccination against the coronavirus would commence on August 16.
This was contained in a terse statement issued early Monday morning by the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib.
The statement reads; “The start date for the vaccination has been postponed to next week Monday. This is to enable NAFDAC to finish its assessment and preparatory processes.”
The second phase of the vaccination was earlier scheduled to commence on August 10, with the national flag-off ceremony slated to take place at the federal medical centre (FMC), Jabi, in the federal capital territory, FCT.
Earlier on Sunday night, while announcing the postponement, a statement issued by the office of the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, noted that the decision was due to “unforeseen circumstances.”
The statement was signed by the director of press at the SGF office, Willie Bassey.
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.
Mr Shuaib said this second phase would capture older adults aged 50 years and above and those with comorbidities aged between 18 and 49 years of age.
He added that the third phase would cover states and local government areas with high disease burden and those who may have missed out in the first and second phases.
“Phase 4 will include other eligible populations as vaccines become available,” he said.
So far, 3,938,945 eligible persons across 36 states and FCT, have been vaccinated.
Mr Shuaib said 2,534,205 people have been vaccinated for the first dose and 1,404,205 have received their second dose of the vaccine.
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. It is the same procedure for the new Moderna vaccines.
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