COVID-19 effects are mild in Nigeria- NPHCDA

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An estimated 8,439 people have reported mild adverse effects after taking the coronavirus vaccination in Nigeria.

The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib  gave the information at  a press conference by the NPHCDA and World Health Organization on Friday in Abuja, on the status of the COVID-19 vaccination in the country.

“Out of over a million persons given the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria, 8,439 persons have suffered mild Adverse Events Following Immunization, AEFI, and 52 persons moderate to severe adverse events on receiving the jab.

“While the mild reactions include body pains and swelling, the moderate to severe adverse events presented were fever, vomiting, diarrhea headaches, dizziness and allergic reactions,” he disclosed.

Shuaib disclosed that there has been no death from the administration of the vaccine while   there is no case of blood clots related to the administration of the vaccines.

States with highest records of the AEFI are Kaduna (970) Cross River (859), Yobe (541), Kebbi (511), and Lagos (448). He said these cases were being investigated to ensure there linkage to COVID-19 vaccination.

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Shuaib restated that there was currently a global shortfall of COVID-19 vaccines which haS forced the Federal Government to re-evaluate vaccine supply forecasts and take the decision to ensure that everyone who has taken the vaccine in the current phase gets the second dose before the next consignment was delivered to Nigeria.

“Furthermore, as a result of this overall program review to meet the challenges of global vaccine demand and supply mismatch, and the late commencement of the vaccination in some States, we are expanding the eligibility period between the first and second doses of the vaccine from 12 weeks to between eight to 12 weeks.

“This is still in line with the scientific recommendation provided by the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE on immunization) that the two doses of the vaccine be given at an interval of 8 to 12 weeks”, he explained.

The Country Representative of  WHO, Dr Walter Kazadi reiterated that the benefits of taking the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines far outweighs the risks. He noted that the over 200 million cases of AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered globally.

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On vaccine availability and equity, Kazadi said the WHO was currently pressuring wealthy countries hoarding the vaccines to release them so that they can redistribute doses and make them available through the COVAX mechanism or through bilateral agreements to countries that need them the most.