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41.2m vaccine doses coming from this month

By Moses Emorinken, Abuja

The Federal Government yesterday disclosed that by the end of September, the country should have received a cumulative of 41,282,770 vaccines through the COVAX facility and the African Union Commission.

It stated that 3,924,000 doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca are expected by end of this month or early next month from the COVAX facility; 3,930,910 doses of Pfizer-Bio-NTech COVID-19 vaccine expected next month from the COVAX facility donated by the United States Government; and 3,577,860 doses of Pfizer-Bio-NTech COVID-19 vaccine expected in the third quarter from the COVAX facility.

Furthermore, 29,850,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson (Jassen) COVID-19 vaccine are expected by the end of September, which will arrive in batches from the African Union Commission.

It reiterated that AstraZeneca vaccines being utilised in country is effective against the Delta variant recently identified in the country.

It, therefore, urged Nigerians to adhere to the non-pharmaceutical interventions of handwashing with soap and flowing water, using sanitisers, proper wearing of face masks, and maintaining social distancing, especially as the festive season approaches.

Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Dr. Faisal Shuaib stated these during a joint news briefing of the agency, with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in Abuja.

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He said: “It is with the support of our mainstream media community that Nigeria has successfully vaccinated 3,938,945 eligible persons across 36 states and FCT, representing 98 per cent utilisation of the 4,024,000 doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine it received from COVAX facility in March 2021.

“This comprises 2,534,205 people, who have been vaccinated for the first dose, and 1,404,205, who have received their second dose of the vaccine.

“In the course of this exercise, the country recorded 14,550 cases of mild/moderate Adverse Event Following Immunisation (AEFI), with only 148 cases considered to be severe. However, we did not record any case of death associated with COVID-19 vaccination.

He added: “Researches have shown that the Delta variant has very minimal vaccine escape properties against the AstraZeneca vaccine. So, we are still in a good place in terms of effectiveness of the vaccine that will be used against the Delta variant.

“This, however, does not mean because we have taken in two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, it means we can go to town without our face masks or observe social distancing or hand hygiene. We still need those non-pharmaceutical measures to protect ourselves and loved ones.

“Rumours that vaccines were withdrawn from states because they were expiring are not correct. There is no vaccine that has expired in Nigeria. We still have enough headroom before vaccines expire.

“Some vaccines were withdrawn from some states because there were some that had a very large absorbing capacity and they wanted additional doses. Part of the reasons for our success in our vaccination program in Nigeria is the fact that we use data. So we looked at the absorption capacities across the states. With this, we were able to manage our stock balances to make sure that not only was their equity, but we also looked at the epidemiology of the virus. Because we know that Lagos State is the epicentre of the epidemic in Nigeria, we made sure that Lagos also got the highest quantity of vaccines.

“We already can see increasing cases in the country, especially in Lagos State. These are signs of an impending third wave. But whether we will go into a full-fledged third wave is wholly dependent on how we manage these initial signs; how we are able to observe the non-pharmaceutical interventions. Up until a few weeks ago, people went about their businesses feeling like covid-19 is gone despite what we saw in India.

“We are also approaching a period of festivity – the Eid-El-Kabir celebration. What the numbers are showing us is that we have to be very careful that we don’t go all out and mingle in crowds, and refuse to take those public health measures. If we do that, it means that we are welcoming a third wave. Similar situation occurred in India. Part of the reasons they witnessed a third wave was because of the festivities in India – a lot of travelling and crowding. We can learn from India.”

Source: DreamAfrica LIVE (A DreamGalaxy Trusted Brand)