THE federal government, Tuesday, disclosed that a total of 1,956,598 targeted Nigerians have been vaccinated with their first dose of the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine.

Of this number, according to the government, 66 percent are frontline workers, 22 percent are healthcare workers, while 12 percent belong to the elderly group.

Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this during an in media conference on the status of COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria.

“As of today, 1,956,598 of targeted eligible Nigerians have been vaccinated with their first dose of the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine. Of this number, 66% are frontline workers, 22% are healthcare workers, while 12% belong to the elderly group,” he said.

Besides, Shuaib said 73,465 Nigerians have also received their second dose across 36 states and the FCT.

“This includes His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who both received their second doses on Saturday, May 29. Similarly, you would have seen that in many States, the Governors, members of the legislature, traditional and religious leaders have publicly started taking the second dose of their vaccinations.

“Only yesterday, members of the Presidential Steering Committee including myself received our second doses of the vaccine. | can assure that we are all doing well. Indeed, on my part, the side effects following the second dose were much less than the first dose,” he said.

He advised all Nigerians who have received their first dose to check their vaccination cards for the date of their second dose and proceed to the same health facility where they got their first jab, to ensure full protection against COVID-19.

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“Our health teams are working hard, and I’d like to thank them once again for all their efforts to make sure Nigerians are being vaccinated. I’d also like to thank the Nigerian public for your cooperation and support in achieving a smooth vaccination Campaign. This has been a national effort that involves all stakeholders,” he added.

Shuaib said there have been cases of mild, moderate, and severe Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) since we officially rolled out Covid-19 vaccination on March 15, 2021, noting that: “The AEFls symptoms ranged from pain and swelling at the site of vaccination to more serious symptoms such as headaches, abdominal pain, fever, dizziness, and allergic reactions.”

“A total of 10,027 cases of mild AEFI have been reported as of May 30″, while 86 cases of moderate to severe incidents have been reported. All these individuals have since fully recovered,” he said.

According to him, “Five States have the highest records of AEF! namely: Cross River (1,040), Kaduna (1,071), Lagos (796), Yobe (555), and Kebbi with 525 cases.”

He said special sites have been provided for vaccination of those who relocated from where they took their first doses.

He him: We acknowledge the possibility of some people relocating from the states where they took their first doses. For this reason, we have made provision for special vaccination sites that could accommodate administering their second doses. It is also possible that due to certain circumstances, some of the sites used for the first dose vaccination may no longer be available; in this case, you are kindly advised to go for your second dose at the nearest vaccination post. The list of the vaccination sites is available on our website (www.nphcda.gov.ng), which we will keep updating and will also be published accordingly. Please bear with us while we try to make the vaccination process as seamless as possible,” he said.

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On the global vaccine supply and anticipated next consignment, he said:”

the Covax facility has communicated that the upcoming allocation is likely from July-September 2021. The exact dates are still being finalized.”

“Nevertheless, bilateral conversations are ongoing to see how we can access the surplus vaccines being stockpiled by developed countries. On this, we are working closely with the Embassies and High Commissions in Nigeria. Our communication remains clear that the allocation of vaccines from friendly countries is most useful now, not later when vaccines become widely available,” he added.

A text of the press conference Shuaib presented read further: “While we are pushing for equity, justice and fair play in the global allocation of vaccines, the Federal Ministry of Health is working with critical stakeholders to fast track the establishment of local vaccine production plants in Nigeria. This initiative will be seizing on the environment created by the lopsided availability of vaccines, momentum around intellectual property waivers, and health security imperatives that vaccines represent.

“| would like to mention that GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance through UNICEF and in partnership with NCDC and NPHCDA have donated $8M worth of PPE to be used by primary health care workers across all 36 States and the FCT. These PPEs are already on their way to the sub-national level, courtesy of Unicef. We thank our partners and value their continued partnership in supporting our frontline health workers.”

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He encouraged all Nigerians to remain vigilant, saying:” Each and every one of us must follow social distancing, mask-wearing, and curfew guidelines.”

“Significant concern remains about the threat posed by the Coronavirus B.1.617.2 variant, also known as the Indian variant, which is observed to be a highly contagious triplemutant strain of the coronavirus.

“In England, cases of the variant have doubled in one week alone. It is very important that we take all the necessary precautions set out by the Government to prevent an uncontrolled outbreak here in Nigeria.

“Vaccination remains the safest and most effective public health intervention known to man. Throughout history, vaccines have saved millions of lives. The Federal Government under the leadership of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to overcome the supply challenges the world is currently experiencing and ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are accessible free of charge, to all eligible populations in Nigeria.

“All of us, working together, can help keep Nigeria safe. Ensuring that we take both doses of our COVID-19 jab is a significant step in this collective effort. This is our Priority at PSC, FMOH, and NPHCDA, “further said.

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