THE Nigerian Government has said that it was expecting about 29.8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine.
Disclosing this yesterday at the weekly media briefing of the COVID-19 Presidential Steering Committee in Abuja, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib said government signed off to receive the vaccines through the African Union (AU), even as vaccine deliveries through the COVAX facility were expected by the end of May or early June.
The NPHCDA boss noted that by then, Nigeria would have completed the process of administering the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to those who got the first dose.
He revealed that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has continued discussions with manufacturers to examine their vaccines, in anticipation of emergency use listing from the World Health Organisation.
Shuaib explained that this was to mitigate the negative concerns about the delayed deliveries of AstraZeneca vaccines, thereby ensuring the sustained supply of vaccines for the smooth continuation of the exercise.
He noted that as of April 26, a total of 1,173, 869 Nigerians, representing 58.3 per cent of the eligible persons targeted in the first phase have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The NPHCDA boss, however, decried the global scarcity of COVID-19 vaccines due to high demand, especially in countries where the vaccines were being produced.
According to him, the government anticipates a delay in vaccine supply to Nigeria which may also affect and impact the remaining phases of the vaccination exercise.
Part of his statement read, “In our sustained efforts to contain the threat of COVID-19 pandemic and protect citizens, the Federal Government through NPHCDA under the guidance of the Presidential Steering Committee and the Federal Ministry of Health has continued to implement several preventive measures in order to save lives.
The vaccination against COVID-19 is currently ongoing in all states of the federation. Our collaboration with health officials and other stakeholders at the national, state, LGA and community levels in the vaccination exercise has yielded substantial results.
I am pleased to inform you that as at April 26th 2021, 1,173, 869 Nigerians, representing 58.3 per cent of the eligible persons targeted in this current phase, have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Notwithstanding the above successes, we are aware of the global scarcity of COVID-19 vaccines due to high demand, especially in countries where the vaccines are being produced. We, therefore, anticipate a delay in vaccine supply to Nigeria which may also affect and impact the remaining phases of the vaccination campaign.
However, in response to the anticipated delay, the federal government has rationalised the vaccination exercise by preserving 50 per cent of available doses of the vaccine for administration of the second doses.
Each state of the federation, including FCT, is currently administering only 50 per cent of their allocated doses of vaccines. The remaining 50 per cent will be administered to clients who had earlier received the first dose, and this would be scheduled between 8 – 12 weeks from the date of their first dose. Data from this exercise are being uploaded and updated by states on the electronic management platform.
Furthermore, the federal government has signed off to receive up to 29.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine through the African Union (AU). We are also expecting deliveries of vaccines through the COVAX facility by the end of May or early June 2021.
By this time, we would have completed the process of administering the second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to those who got the first dose.
In the meantime, NAFDAC is continuing discussions with manufacturers and examining their vaccines, in anticipation of Emergency Use Listing from the World Health Organisation.
We hope that these will mitigate the negative concerns about the delayed deliveries of AstraZeneca vaccines, thereby ensuring the sustained supply of vaccines for smooth continuation of our vaccination exercise.
To further strengthen vaccine security and accountability, we are deepening our collaboration with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Our partnership in this regard is also aimed at further curbing cases of vaccine mismanagement and other anticipated sharp practices at the vaccination sites.
The agency has taken delivery of 2,250 tablets as donation from CACOVID, to help health facilities with the registration process and making it less cumbersome for data capture in our electronic data register.
We, therefore, encourage all eligible residents of Nigeria to continue to register for vaccination through the NPHCDA website, and we guarantee that every registered person will be scheduled and vaccinated in the coming phases of the exercise accordingly.
Let me state from available scientific records and investigations by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine, among others, is safe and efficacious. Our national regulatory body, NAFDAC has also certified that the vaccine is safe and strongly recommends its continued use for all eligible age groups.
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